Auwal Bala Muhammad is an upcoming actor in Nollywood. He acted in two feature films titled ‘Rukayya’ and ‘Jalil.’ In this interview with Weekend Magazine, the Jos-born actor speaks on what attracted him to acting, his dream and the challenges he has faced as an upcoming actor and many more. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: What attracted you to acting?
Auwal Bala: I remember when I was a student of Federal College of Education (FCE), Pankshin, in Plateau state; I participated in many stage performances. During that time, I joined a lliterary ggroup and we performed at events. A theme would be given to us and we would then perform a drama skit based on it. It was all these stage performances, that motivated me to go into acting.
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I didn’t venture into filmmaking from the Hausa film industry. I started my acting career from Nollywood under a company named Eaglewolft TV. However, I will soon focus my attention on Kannywood.
WM: How many films have you starred in so far?
Bala: I started acting last year and I have acted in two feature films. I was the lead actor of film, ‘Rukayya’ sponsored by Nollywood company, Eaglewolft TV and the second one was ‘Jalil’ by Noless 8:19 Studios. ‘Jalil’ featured Yakubu Muhammad and Maryam Booth.
WM: What are some of the challenges you are facing as an upcoming actor?
Bala: I have faced some challenges, but thankfully I was able to overcome them all. I was able to overcome them because I have the passion and interest for acting. Some of the few challenges I encountered, were dealing with new and different things from what I was used to with stage performance.
During stage performances, you would get your lines and act on them. You would do them once and that’s all. But when I started acting for screen, and encountered the take one, take two, and close up shots, among others, and the fact that I have to say things exactly the way they are said in all the shots taken, it was challenging. Also, maintaining the same expressions in all the shots was also difficult in the beginning. I found all these things new and challenging. But along the line, I adjusted and in the end I did, a wonderful job.
WM: Do you see yourself as a Kannywood or a Nollywood actor?
Bala: I want to be dynamic. I want to feature in both Kannywood and Nollywood films. In Nigeria, we have divided it as Nollywood for English-speaking films and Kannywood for Hausa-speaking films. I want to be an actor who wants to be featured even in Igbo language films. I want to be an all-round actor.
WM: What are some of the achievements you have recorded so far even though you only started your acting career last year?
Bala: I can say so far, so good. I am just impressed with my performance in ‘Rukayya,’ and it was my performance in ‘Rukayya’ that landed me the lead character in ‘Jalil.’ In ‘Rukayya,’ I played the role of Musa, who was the antagonist. The role was the complete opposite of my real self. I am a calm, simple and easy-going person, but in ‘Rukayya’ I played the role of a villain. It was quite stressful, though eventful.
WM: What is your dream in the film industry?
Bala: My dream is a big one. I want to be a Hollywood actor. I also want to act in Indian movies, because like I earlier said, I want to be an all-round actor, who wants to impact positively in the lives of people across the world.
WM: You are Muslim and from northern Nigeria. Don’t you think religion and culture, will prevent you from excelling in Hollywood, Nollywood and even Bollywood?
Bala: Religion and culture wouldn’t hinder me, I want you to know that acting is not real. It doesn’t portray an actor’s real life. Also, there is the Hadith which says, ‘actions are judged according to one’s intention.’ I am a Muslim and beer is prohibited in Islam. For instance, if I were given the role of a drunkard, I would do it gladly because it doesn’t define me as a drunkard. People forget that you could use negative roles to pass messages.
I want northern viewers to know that actors only depict particular issue and come with a way of passing messages for the benefit and betterment of the society. Regardless, I know I am a Muslim, I have my limitations and there are some lines that no matter what I would not cross.
WM: What is your next project?
Bala: After the success of ‘Jalil’ and ‘Rukayya,’ I have two Nollywood projects on ground. I have plans of producing and acting in Hausa films.