Like most filmmakers, he believes that films are like a school and actors are engaged in the business of correcting the ills of the society or fashioning it to be better than it is. He told Sunday Trust that he was prompted to go into the industry by a burning interest in acting and also “to enlighten the public through films and also to contribute in the growth of our dear film industry Kannywood”.
Nura Imam declares that, unfortunately, “things have recently turned out to up side down”, because the image being painted of filmmakers is unsavoury.
“What I mean by things have turned up side down”, he says, “is the way the present Kano state government, through its censorship board, is portraying us, filmmakers—it paints us in a very bad light and, honestly, [I] regret of being in the industry”.
Imam adds that the censorship board, which is supposed to be a partner in progress, has succeeded in making the public think that filmmaking is bad and filmmakers are evil, which is contrary to what obtains in reality and, one may add, contrary to his purpose of going into filmmaking.
“Topping the list of achievements recorded by the Kano State Censorship Board is the success it recorded in terms of tarnishing the image of filmmakers in a way that the public feels that the whole business is bad and we filmmakers are devilish, evil, immodest, and lack manners. Instead of being a partner in progress, it has turned out to be an enemy”, he says.
He also believes that “the board, in the name of sanitising filmmaking, has used all available avenues to tell the world that its intervention is a result of the evil being carried out in the industry and this is why anywhere we go, people see us as indecent and immodest people. This is really unfortunate”.
Imam, however, agrees that it will be ridiculous to think that Kannywood was perfect. But, on the other hand, he says, the body expected to work to bring the industry into better shape so it can attain greater heights is over stretching its powers.
“We filmmakers have accepted that some correction in our operations needs be effected; but the problem is that most of the rules or measures the censorship board is taking are not realistic and too rigid to be adopted by any group. Their rules and guidelines are very stringent and rigid so, to my understanding, they are not meant to correct our wrongs but to kill the industry not minding the impact of films on societal building”, he says.
Imam also frowns on the board’s requirement that the script of every film to be produced has to be vetted: “The board is demanding that before we embark on any film, we have to summit our script for vetting. We have no problem with that. Our worry is that when we submit these scripts, it takes a long time before they are certified and released. So you can just imagine how hectic and frustrating the board is making our work”.
He adds: “You can just imagine a situation where you have budgeted money to produce a film and the procedure is taking an unbearably long time. Definitely, at the end of it, one has to forego producing that film because of the delay by the board”.
The actor also differs in his view of how the industry can best be sanitised.
“The way out is for the censorship board to follow the same channel through which it tarnished the image of filmmakers and remedy it; [the board would] then be adequately prepared to work for the progress of the industry. This can only be achieved if the board would create an avenue to work closely with filmmakers in such a way that things will be ironed out amicably”, he says.
Nura Imam also says that “the censors board is working as if it has just come to Islamise filmmaking by converting filmmakers to Islam; and this is wrong because majority of us in the industry are Muslims, we have been good followers [of the religion] and are ever ready to work along the right path.
“Even if the censorship board did not sabotage filmmaking, I had already decide to quite acting the very moment I get married”.