Mansurah Isah is a household name in Kannywood. She married another Kannywood maestro, actor, and singer, Sani Danger, and their marriage is one of the few celebrity marriages that survived the test of time. In this interview, the former actress talks about her new project, involvement with Kannywood, and many more
Who is Mansurah Isah?
Mansurah Isah is one of the pioneer actresses in the Kannywood movie industry. I did a lot of films during my days as an actress and a producer before getting married and continuing as a producer. Right now, I am a philanthropist helping the less privileged, orphans and widows.
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Why did you leave the film-making industry?
I am still with the film industry; I am still part of the industry because my husband is an actor and a producer as well. My children are also actors and even though I do not act in movies, I do adverts. I still do film productions and write stories. I wrote the story of “Buri uku a duniya.” I did the screenplay of the movie and sometimes I rent out costumes to colleagues in the industry. I can never leave Kannywood and Kannywood can never leave me.
Can you tell us something on your first film appearance?
The name of my first film was ‘Buki Budiri’, though my boss then Rabi’u HRB didn’t want me to act because I edited films. I was the only female film editor then. I edited the film ‘Sansani’ and ‘Dangantaka’.
My boss saw that I was sad for not being given the opportunity to act. He then gave me a chance that if I proved myself worthy, he would allow me to continue acting. I played the lead role in ‘Suhaila’ where I acted alongside Abbah Almustapha, and I did well. My performance in that film earned me another role in ‘Guda’ produced by FKD and from there I became a known face in the industry. I have featured in more than 100 films and I have also produced many films.
Do you cajole your children into acting?
Our children are into acting because they have a passion for it. We never at any point tried to either force them or cajole them into acting. Moreover, most of the films they appeared in are our films and we made sure that they played roles that will not temper with their integrity. Similarly, none of them had the passion of taking acting or singing as a career; to them, it is just a hobby.
We ensure that we separate their acting and their studies as both are very vital in their lives. They usually act during their school holidays to avoid distraction from their studies.
Can you tell us your experience as a female producer?
My first experience as a producer was a bit bitter though it shaped my ability to forge ahead. When I decided to produce a movie, I picked Jos as my location. Many of the artists did not honour the invitation including the directors. We were together with Falalu Dorayi and I told him to just direct the film. We were so close and he obliged me. As a versatile artist, he directed the film which was his first directing and my first production. I produced Sakna, Majalisa, Akhila, and many more.
Are you working on any new project as a film producer?
Yes, I am working on a multi-million naira film titled ‘Fanan’ which is the first of its kind in the history of Kannywood because it is a film that has a series of sponsorships including international firms that have put in a huge investment into it.
Can you tell us more about this new project?
We created a whole new school of over 100 pupils with uniforms and all the costumes in the movie were new, purposely made for the film and also we have artists like my husband, Sani Danja, Ali Nuhu, Yakubu Muhammed, among other top Kannywood stars in it.
It is not yet out. The film has gulped over N9 million. We hope to show the film in the cinema during the Eid-el-Kabir period. It is a film that will change the industry for the better because it will show how capable the industry is of producing good films.
What else did you do after leaving the actual screen business?
Yes, I was into catering supply and interior decoration among other businesses. These are things I groomed myself to do even while still acting and I don’t believe in staying idle or depending on a single source of income. Moreover, I am also into charity work under a foundation as I have mentioned earlier.
What led you into establishing a foundation?
I am an individual that is moved by people’s plight and the greatest joy I get is when I put a smile on someone’s face. I started the foundation alone before I got other people to join after registration; presently we have no boundaries as we penetrate both urban and rural areas to assist people. We are more focused on feeding the needy as well as assisting them with their medications.
We also provide boreholes to areas in need of potable water, and we render other forms of assistance to the needy within our capacity. We also refer some cases that are beyond our capability to authorities concerned and some well-meaning individuals in our community for assistance.