Mansurah Isah is a popular Kannywood actress. In this interview, she speaks about her career, happenings in the industry and her relationship with her former husband.
Your recent movie ‘Fanan’ has got good review, how did you do it?
I can only thank God, but I can’t categorically tell how it happened. Perhaps, the way I advertised the movie was a factor. But I can say the movie is a good one. People started talking about the movie before watching it after we released the movie song.
But all in all, I know we did our best, and the end product was received well by the people. I thank God.
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During the movie premiere in cinema in Kano, you were seen with your former husband, Sani Danja, which generated some debate. Is there anything on ground between you?
I don’t see anything wrong in that. He is the father of my children, my friend and a colleague. So, I don’t understand why people are talking about that. We are in a modern world now; the fact that we divorced doesn’t mean we are enemies.
Talking about your foundation, ‘Today’s Life’, how do you fund it?
Most of our activities are funded from my personal savings but if there is a need and I don’t have much, I post it on social media to solicit for help from people.
If it is a big programme, however, we plan it, and design our budget. We then go out and solicit for donations from people and add it up with our own funds. If I get money from people for any of my projects, I usually post it immediately after the project as a way of accounting to the people that donated the money.
As a veteran actor in Kannywood, how can you compare Kannywood of yesteryears and today?
There are a lot of differences between before and now. Acting is now easier unlike before. Before, there were no scripts. You will just go to location and the director will be directing you on what to do. Sometimes, even you – the actor, will not understand what you are doing until you finish the movie. But now, scripts are there to guide you.
And even the filming equipment are now advanced. If I am watching my movies on YouTube, my children hardly recognize me. They will be asking ‘mom who is that, where are you?’ and I will be laughing. Now, you have Mac 3, Mac 4 and other sophisticated equipment.
On the actors, I think our set were more passionate about the movies and the industry. Now, the actors concentrate more on popularity and becoming celebrities.
You use your foundation to produce movies, why?
I don’t use my foundation to produce movies. The foundation’s name is ‘Today’s Life’ and I also have a company, Today’s Life Nigeria Limited which is into interior design, construction, and other businesses.
Your children have started acting, are they already taking over from you and their dad?
I don’t think so. They are only featuring in our movies, and it is not for money. They are still children, but when they come of age and decide to go into acting, we will not have problem with that. It is their lives; we will only guide them to do the right thing.
How is life after being divorced by your husband?
Hmm… I have been expecting this kind of question for long, and I have been thinking of how best to answer it so as not to generate controversy and, may be, to the extent of tarnishing my hard-earned reputations and that of my family and loved ones. But talking about the challenges of a divorcee, I will not talk much, but I will like to call on girls that are yet to get married as well as divorcees to be patient. God knows what they are into, and He knows best why they are divorced and the conditions they are in.
If a woman is facing hardship in her matrimonial home and keeps it to her self, if she eventually dies, people will ask why she refused to open up. And if she opens up and fights for her right and in the process becomes divorced, people will still blame her. Even people that were never married will call her names. I faced all these things.
No woman who’s getting what she needs in her matrimonial home will like to get divorced; it is not possible. People called me names on social media, and many other forms of abuse. But I have since moved on. What I faced in this life, I will not pray for my enemies to face it or their daughters.
What will you advise those that want to join Kannywood?
Women that want to start acting should know that if they are not bold, if they can’t withstand pressure, they should not start acting. If you want to be successful, then you should be ready to face challenges.
That is why some people accuse actors of being arrogant. In a day, more than 100 people can look at you and tell you whatever they feel like telling you, and if you want to retaliate, people will say you are not suppose to do that. So, if you’re ready of all these challenges, then you are welcome, but if you’re not, you should look for something else.
What is making Kannyood industry to go backwards?
Like I said before, during our peak time, the passion was more, but the world is fast changing. One thing I think is dragging Kannywood back is perhaps the fact that we have refused to follow the changes. We are still using the old standard.
We need to start doing what world movie industries are doing in areas like improving our equipment and filming sections.
And our actors should see acting as a business not just for getting small money or to just become a celebrity and move on.
Isiyaku Muhammed is a researcher, blogger and a Press Association, London certified Multimedia journalist.