Al-Ameen Buhari is one of the prominent actors in Kannywood. In this interview with Weekend Magazine, the Jos-born actor who was a truck driver before going into entertainment speaks about what attracted him to filmmaking biz, the challenges and successes so far and many more.
Weekend Magazine: You were a truck driver before you went into filmmaking. What prompted you to dump driving for acting?
Al-Amen Buhari: I had my Arabic education in Nasarawa State where I studied the Qur’an and many Islamic books. At a stage, I preached and delivered sermons in the mosque. From day one, I wanted to contribute to building a better society. When Kannywood came, I realized it would be an avenue where I could achieve my aim to easily preach to people. That’s why if you watch my films you would see most of them have a storyline centred on admonishing, cautioning and warning people about a particular negative habit or social vice.
You would see I have a lot of films on the dangers of fornication, adultery, taking illicit drugs and crimes among others. Some of my films are on the importance of peace and the negative effects of violence and crisis. I ventured into filmmaking in order to sanitize the world from all social vices.
WM: Can you say that you have achieved that aim?
Buhari: A lot of people have learned from my films. Some have told me how my films changed their lives. I have also met a lot of people that told me that my films have played a vital role in strengthening their marriages. Some people, as a result of my films became better persons; they stopped taking illicit drugs and fornication. I am proud of these developments, to me it is an achievement because I have impacted positively on their lives and that was my aim.
WM: What challenges did you face before becoming an actor?
Buhari: I faced a few hiccups here and there. There was no big challenge. I remember I took a decision to join Kannywood about 18 years ago while we were watching a Hausa film titled ‘Nazari’ at Kwararafa Cinema here in Jos. The film starred Ali Nuhu, Fati Muhammad and Abida Muhammad, among others.
The film was produced by a veteran director, Yusuf Khalid. That film triggered me to join Kannywood. It was well delivered. The actors tried their best and delivered their lines. Fortunately it happened that I knew the producer of the film. I went to his shop and told him I wanted to be an actor. He didn’t cast me in his subsequent films. However, because I had made up my mind to be an actor, I joined Kannywood from the beginning as a driver. At the time I was shuttling the casts and crew from one location to another.
I remember during that time I met popular producer, Salisu Mu’azu, I told him about my dream. He told that he would produce a film entitled ‘Fargaba,’ and that I would be among the cast. I was happy that he would fulfil his promise.
The money he paid me, I gave it as alms and asked people to pray for my success in Kannywood. Since that day I have progressed and recorded success in the industry.
WM: How many films have you starred in so far?
Buhari: Compared to actors like Ali Nuhu and Adam A. Zango among others I would say I haven’t starred in so many films. The reason behind that is, I don’t act in [just] any film. I have to go through the script to see whether the film suits with the kind of films I pledged to star in. Also, there are some directors whom I love to be in their films, because their works are exceptional and always have the strong storylines.
WM: Of the films you have starred in so far, which one do you most love?
Buhari: I love about three films. The first one is ‘Fari da Baki,’ a film produced and directed by Aminu Saira. It was on marriage. I had a wife and my mother didn’t like her. When my mother saw my wife pregnant she insisted that I was not responsible for the pregnancy. She molested her and later forced me to divorce her. She also forced me to marry a wayward lady who ended up bringing a son out of the wedlock to my house.
My first wife gave birth to bouncing baby boy, but my mother didn’t like him. She forced him out of my house, and he later became a doctor. When I was critically ill I was taken to the hospital where he was working, while the one in my house became notorious. I love the film based on the message it carries.
The second film is ‘Ahlil Kitabi’ a film produced by Adam A Zango. I played a villain, but in the end I was paid with my own coin.
The third film is ‘Azal’ produced by 3SP film production. I played a role of corrupt policeman who thrived in collecting bribe. In the end, I met my waterloo.
WM: Have you achieved your dreams being in the industry?
Buhari: I have achieved so many things as a result of my acting profession. I can take care of my family including their basic needs, school fees and providing good healthcare, among other things. I bought a car because of Kannywood. I am living comfortable because of Kannywood. What remains for me is to go to Saudi Arabia for hajj, to build a big house and to add a second wife (laughs).
WM: What big challenge is there to surmount in Kannywood?
Buhari: My greatest challenge in Kannywood is the collapse of market due to piracy. As we speak, we are in a dire state. We need government to assist us. The people benefiting from Kannywood are countless. If the industry is moving well it would help government to reduce unemployment.
For example, if one film is produced, no less than 150 people would benefit from it. So there is need for government to assist us.
I am calling on President Buhari to help us. Let him remember we have played a vital role in bringing him into government. We campaigned for him, we asked our fans to vote for him and they have done that. Let him direct the Copyright Commission to fight pirates for us. They have succeeded in crumbling Kannywood.