Haruna Talle Maifata is an actor and director in Kannywood. In this interview with Weekend Magazine, the Jos-born actor and Managing Director of Maifata Movies, explains why he introduced his wife to Kannywood, what attracted him to filmmaking, and more. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: What attracted you to filmmaking?
Haruna Maifata: I ventured into filmmaking because I have the passion for it. Filmmaking comes with popularity and some privileges, and I want to be popular and have such privileges.
At that time, my brother, Baban Umma Talle Maifata, was a producer and I saw how he was treated like a king by filmmakers and viewers. I told him my intention of becoming an actor. He promised to cast me in one of his films, but he didn’t, so I became angry. I then started exploring other ways in order to actualise my dream.
Therefore, I met an actor and director, Bello Muhammad Bello, with a script and some money. I told him that I wanted to be an actor. I gave him the script and after he read it, he agreed to work with me. The name of the film was “Zuciyata”. I received a lot of commendation from viewers and the people that knew me before I ventured into acting. Their commendation motivated me greatly and kept me going.
WM: How many films have you starred in?
Maifata: Remember that I’m an actor, producer and director. I have produced a lot of films under my company, Maifata Movies, and I have also starred in films sponsored by other film production companies. Under my company, I have produced and sponsored about 42 films, starting from “Zuciyata”, to the current one, “Farida Nabeel”.
Regarding to the films I have starred in in the other companies; to be honest, I have lost count of them.
WM: Can you name some of the films that you have produced under your company?
Maifata: I have produced “Zuciyata”, “Hafsat ko Safiya”, “Kundin Tsari”, “Farin Sani”, “Tawakkaltu”, “Ran Gini Ran Zane”, “Kura ta ci Kura”, “Sababi”, “Ta Cuce Ni”, among others.
WM: Out of the 42 films that you have produced; which one is your favourite?
Maifata: I love all the films I have produced so far because I don’t produce a film until I am satisfied that it has a lot of messages for the viewers.
WM: Who among your co-actors have you enjoyed working with the most?
Maifata: Among male actors, l enjoyed working with Ali Nuhu because he is always punctual; if he says he will come by 07:00am, by God’s willing you will see him by 07:00am. I also enjoy working with actor Sadiq Ahmad. He always gives me good advice on how I will move forward in Kannywood.
Among female actresses, I like working with Fati Zinariya. When I cast her in my films, she always comes with her costumes. So I don’t have to bother to provide her costumes. If the film requires her to wear 50 clothes, 50 bags and 50 shoes, she will come with all and will not demand for extra pay.
I also enjoy working with actress Jamila Nagudu; she is versatile and easy-going. She can play perfectly any role you give her.
WM: In almost all the films you have produced under your company, actress Jamila Nagudu is in them, which prompted a rumour that you were having an affair with her; what is your reaction to that?
Maifata: Like I said earlier, Jamila is an easy-going and humble person, and when it comes to acting, she doesn’t joke. She always acts as if it is her last film on earth. She acts with passion, not because of money, and so do I. I act with all seriousness like how footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, plays. So Jamila has all what a director wants to have in an actor. When we are on set for a film, we try to outdo each other. The relationship between me and her is professional; I am not having any affair with her.
WM: What are some of the challenges you are facing as an actor and producer?
Maifata: In anything one does he would encounter challenges, but what I don’t allow the challenges to dent my passion, effort or to even make me run away from Kannywood. I have always found a way to overcome all the challenges I have encountered so far.
WM: Most of the married actors in Kannywood do have issues with their wives because of the teeming female fans they have; some of the wives had even displayed some unruly behaviour; have you found yourself in a similar situation?
Maifata: I have millions of fans, and truly my female fans outweigh the male fans because of the roles I use to play in films. Despite that, I have never encountered any situation like that, because I don’t hide anything from my wife. I run an open life in my home. My wife wouldn’t complain because she trusts me; she knows I wouldn’t cheat on her.
My wife has the passwords of my phones. Sometimes I deliberately leave my phones at home and she plays games with them. If I have anything to hide I wouldn’t allow her to know the passwords of my phones, and because of how open I am to her, she supports me in my acting, producing and directing career.
Let me even tell you something, my house is big, there are a lot of empty rooms, sometimes if the location of my films happen to be in Jos, instead of lodging some of the female actors in a hotel, I bring them to my house to use some of the empty rooms…
WM: …and your wife is okay with that?
Maifata: Yes, she is okay because she has never complained. I shot some films in my house. Let me even tell you a revelation. I introduced my wife to Kannywood; I gave her money and she has produced two films already. She was even the one that cast the female actors. The female actors slept in my house and she cooked for them from the beginning of the set to the end. So this will tell you, if I have any hidden agenda, I wouldn’t introduce her to Kannywood. She is now using the money she is getting from the films in setting up another business.
I introduced her to Kannywood to show her how lucrative the industry is and for her to know I don’t have a skeleton in my cupboard regarding my acting life in Kannywood.