Bello Muhammad Bello popularly known as General BMB has over the years became synonymous with the modern Hausa movie production. In this interview, the actor, producer and director speaks on his planned comeback, among other issues.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Bello Muhammad Bello, known in the Hausa movie industry as General BMB. I am a film producer, director, an actor, an editor and a script writer. I was born, raised and groomed according to Islamic way in Jos Plateau State. I attended Islamiyya Primary School from there I went to Government Secondary School Riyom for my secondary school education.
After my secondary school, I travelled out of Nigeria to Germany, and from Germany I went to Belgium all in an attempt to make a living. So, when the issue of the Hausa movie industry filtered out to us in Europe, I felt that there was a need for me to come back and see where I can fit in and give my contribution in uplifting the industry and the Hausa language in particular.
However, when I came back, I wasn’t satisfied with the content being produced by the industry. Therefore, I went to the University of Jos where I did a diploma course in Mass Communication. I went back again for another diploma in marketing, and after that in 2005, I decided to go back for a degree in Economics. I am now a graduate of Economics from University of Jos.
Similarly, in the midst of my study, I attended some courses in relation to movie production; I went to Berlin in Germany and I also attended a short course in London. After that, I then ventured into the movie industry fully with the expertise and experience I gathered during the short courses I attended with the intention of bringing to the industry the needed changes.
Have you quit acting?
I have not been visible for a while but that doesn’t mean I have abandoned or quit acting; I have been very much around, working on various projects. As I speak with you, I have concluded work on one of my film series which I intend to launch my coming back to the screen with. Moreover, I have about seven film series that I’m working on and that will be my coming back gift to my fans.
I want to stage a mega come back to the screen business with issues-oriented films that will set the stage for a new dimension in the Hausa film making industry. These films I am talking about were written and produced by me, and they will be released on my TV channel on YouTube.
You could have joined Nollywood. Why Kannywood?
I am from the North, and I strongly believe that the northern movie industry needs my contribution more than Nollywood. If I should concentrate more on Nollywood, then I am not doing anything good for Kannywood. It was assumed that Nollywood has gone far in terms of sophistication and glamour while we were seen as lagging behind even though we are older than them. My vision is to see a Hausa movie industry that will compete with any other movie industry in the world, and Kannywood is my home. I will remain in it and salvage it with my people.
It is not as if I am condemning Nollywood, no, all what I am saying is that Kannywood needs me now more than ever.
Why did you choose to remain silent when Kannywood was engulfed by a number of crises recently?
I deliberately refused to wade into them because those crises were issue-oriented. What I mean here is that the crises were more or less personal and not contributing to the development of the industry at all.
What role did you play when you joined the industry?
I started as a director in a movie called ‘Rai’, then came ‘Uwar Miji’, ‘Saki Uku’, and many more.
What would you say is your happiest moment as an actor?
My happiest moment as an actor was when I was invited to go to America alongside other artists from the industry. I never knew that my contribution to the industry had been noticed and appreciated by a lot of people within and outside the Hausa speaking communities. We went and came back more enlightened and educated than we left, it was indeed a memorable experience for me.
Do you have any regrets as an actor?
To be honest with you, I have. I regretted interfering in the feud between actors Ali Nuhu and Adam Zango. I made a huge mistake by taking a standard from a one-sided narration without listening to the other side. And when it became so pronounced, I figured out that I was wrong for taking the stand that I took on the issue. The outcome was so bad and I regretted doing that even though the offended party has forgiven me.
Did you ask for his forgiveness?
Of course, I did. Ali Nuhu has been a very good friend of mine and he has since forgiven me on the error and we have continued from where we stopped. We have been the best of friends ever since that incident. I am such a person that easily apologizes when I find out that I was wrong irrespective of whom I wronged. I find it easy to say I am sorry when I offend someone.
Is BMB married?
Yes, I am married to Zainab Yunusa, an actress I featured in one of my films titled ‘Uwar Miji’. We have been married for 5 years now and we are blessed with twins.