Weekend Magazine: Your role in the movie ‘In search of the King’ has generated a lot of issues. What is your take on this?
Abba Almustapha: Indeed I played an entirely different role from what my fans were used to. This is why we are called actors. Movies are usually a reflection of society and if you want to send a message, you have to portray what is obtainable in real life situation.
My valiant role in the movie was a role I gladly accepted because it was a story of a typical Hausa setting even though, it was being portrayed in English Language. I played a role of a valiant King who did not like his subjects to be educated and a dictator who treats his subjects with no mercy.
In the movie I was a wicked king who tortured and snatched his subject’s belongings including their wives. I was a mean leader in that movie and I think I played the role perfectly.
WM: Many believed that the role you played was real and that it is a reflection of your true character?
Almustapha: It was an act, and any good artiste should be able to interpret every role given to him or her perfectly. However, we are just like teachers. What we portray in movies are mere roles given to us and that doesn’t mean those roles are our real life characters.
Moreover, I strongly believe that artists shouldn’t be judged based on the roles they play in movies, because acting as a policeman doesn’t make an artiste a policeman; just as acting a bad character doesn’t make an artiste a bad person.
The innovations made in Kannywood English films have been one of the best things that had ever happened to the industry. The pioneer of the move Kabiru Musa Jammaje had introduced films that are centred on Hausa cultures and traditions with pure touch of expertise that reflect the typical Hausa setting for the non-Hausa to watch and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the Hausa people.
When I went through the script it was interesting and I said to myself “This isn’t going to be easy.” But as an artiste, I have to do it and not only to do it but to do it very well.
As a professional, I know the good side of being a good artiste is the ability to interpret every role given to you as a cast in a movie. However, like I said earlier, good interpretation of a role doesn’t mean that has become your real character in life.
What made people to talk much about my role in the movie, is just a sign that shows I have done my best in interpreting the role of a valiant King. Although it wasn’t easy, I nevertheless have done what is expected of me as a cast in that movie.
WM: Have you ever been ridiculed for a role you played?
Almustapha: None that I can recall. The good thing here is that we live in a society where we practice our profession and people know us for what we do which is acting. The only thing I can say is that we receive favours from our fan base on the satisfaction they get from watching us executing our role in different movies.
WM: Do you think the industry can sustain this made in Kannywood English movies?
Almustapha: You see, this is not an issue of competition between Hausa movies and English movies or with any other movie. The actual truth here is that, the introduction of the made in Kannywood English movie clears the air and the wrong assumption that Kannywood harbours illiterates and school dropouts only. I have heard several confessions from different people that they never knew Kannywood as a movie industry had such a combination of educated and intellectual people until after the release of these made in Kannywood English movies.
The good thing here is that the general public has accepted and appreciated these movies. To me personally, with the trend of innovation, I believe the industry can sustain the move without much trouble.
One other aspect with the innovation is that most of the movies being produced are well researched and also have a solid professional touch that usually gave it a unique characteristic that suits our fans.
WM: What is your advice to movie regulatory authorities and your fans?
Almustapha: My advice to them is, assist us to fight piracy. The regulatory body has a very vital role to play in fighting piracy which is the cancer killing the entertainment industry and our fans should assist us by insisting on our qualitative work and not pirated ones.