Film speaks universal language – Baba dan Audu | Dailytrust

Film speaks universal language – Baba dan Audu

Baba dan Audu
Baba dan Audu

Rabiu Rikadawa popularly known as Baba dan Audu has been making waves in the industry. The versatile actor hitherto known as Dila has played multi-dimensional roles and carved a niche as a unique actor who adapts to roles easily. In this interview, he speaks on how he adapts to movie characters easily and the way forward for Kannywood.

Kannywood fans now know you as Baba dan Audu, can you share with us how you got your other popular name, Dila?

Dila and Baba dan Audu are characters in two different series. Dila happened many years back. Then, we only had TV stations, no home videos and CD. I was a staff of DITV Kaduna and during that time, I was the producer, scriptwriter and major actor in all their drama series and it was only DITV that was showing dramas then. The drama series was ‘Komai tsawon dare’ which was aired every Sunday by 9pm. NTA saw it as a challenge, and decided to create their own, but they wanted comedy. They invited us for an interview and told us they want it to be like Tom and Jerry.

After they told us what they wanted from us, myself, one Dan Asabe, Abdullahi Kayar Bushiya, Moda, Hauwa Gamawa and the rest all accepted to act for them. At our first sitting, we decided to shape the idea, and I said we should do something like introductory episode to tell our viewers what we were up to. After that, the management of NTA selected me as Dila, which I rejected. 

There were no mobile phones then so that very day, the producers – George Agbese and one Late Muhammad Kasimu, came to my house and told me that the management is insisting that I should act as Dila, but I told them I was still working with DITV and I didn’t want a situation where my busy schedules will be clashing with their time. So, they told me they would adjust theirs whenever it clashes with my time.

I accepted to act as Dila, while Dan Asabe is Kurungu, similar to Tom and Jerry. I have a small stature compared to Kurungu who is big. And Moda acted as Alhaji. The drama was a very popular TV series.

Now, you are acting as Baba dan Audu in Labarina series, a character similar to Dila. But while you’ve never been caught as Dila, Baba dan Audu was caught and sentenced to prison, how?

Well, they are two different characters. Do you know what is Dila (Jackal)? You can never catch Dila. Whatever you do, Dila must have options. In fact, no writer will write a story that shows there’s no other option for Dila, no body will accept that story.

But in Labarina, I acted as Baba dan Audu, not Dila. So, despite the similarities, they are two different characters. If I had acted as Dila in Labarina, the story will be the same. You can’t win against Dila. It is not possible.

Which among your movies is the best?

As an actor, I don’t think I have one single movie or series as my best. Films are just mere script and an actor getting into the character to pass a message. If you can’t fit into the character very well, then the message will not be clear to your target audience.

Some people like to see actors being traumatized, while some like bossy actors. The best thing for a good actor is to be able to fit into any character and give the best out of it.

One special thing about you is your ability to change characters effortlessly, and you are among the few veterans that adapted easily into the modern industry, how do you do it? 

I see it as acting, and as an actor, I try my best to give the best. A good actor can act even in Bollywood; even if he doesn’t understand their language. What is expected of an actor is to pass a message clearly.

So, it is not about old and modern Hausa industry, it is about the actor. One thing perhaps is that in the olden days industry, the messages were mostly government policies that they wanted us to pass to people, but now films and producers are thinking more about their investment.

In Labarina series, you like money too much. Are you also greedy in real life?

Baba dan Audu character is a special one. He is man that was deported back from Saudi Arabia unprepared. He came back to Nigeria without money. And he was deported after more than 20 years there, where he has been eating good food and living comfortably.

He is now back to Nigeria with nothing to show. His wife whom he left with nothing while in Saudi Arabia is also tired of him. So, he must try to find a way back to Saudi Arabia to have peace of mind. That was how the greed came in. That was how the character was created.

Kannywood is now going back on YouTube, how do you see the transformation?

It is a good one. I started with television series which were recorded in cassette. When the industry changed from using VHS tape to CD, a similar problem happened, so much that it was like the industry will crumble. But we overcame it and came out even stronger. So, now that we are leaving CD for YouTube, the industry will survive it. You know life is dynamic, you have to follow the trend if you want to remain relevant.

I know many actors that are popular today that were never in CD. They only acted in Youtube movies. Look at the TV we are watching now, they are smart TVs unlike before.

You acted in Kannyood English films, what can you say about people that are saying Kannywood movies should be only in Hausa?

I don’t know where they got that idea from that says we should not produce English movies. Film has no language, and acting has no language. Films and actors are universal. The important thing is to pass the message. That is why some movies have subtitles because they are targeting the world.

Do you have any message for younger actors?

Well, when we were starting, we actually had role models that we were looking up to. And the directors and producers had knowledge of how to do things, and they helped us a lot, especially in capacity building.

But now, executive producers are after their profit and some actors are just after popularity. You know film industries are glamorous.

An executive producer will pump his money, and in some cases, we will just be asked to go and watch one Indian movie and asked to act as one of the actors.

While in that darkness, a light came when academics started trooping in to help us. One man that helped Kannywood a lot is Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu, Former NOUN VC. He pushed so much to the point that BUK started degree program on film. But unfortunately, how many of our young actors have studied in that aspect? All they want is to get a godfather that will help them secure a role and that is all.

How can you remedy this problem?

By acquiring the right knowledge. An illiterate can never go far in whatever he is doing, let alone be successful.

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