The name Muhammad Usman may not ring a bell in the Hausa entertainment industry, but the name Rasaki definitely does. Popular for his ability to mimic the Yoruba Hausa accent in films, Rasaki had established a name for himself as a young upcoming actor in the industry. In this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, he talks about the recent practitioners’ license cancellation, among others.
Who is Muhammad Usman?
Muhammad Usman is a young artiste in the Hausa film making industry who began his career in the TV series ‘Dadin Kowa’ aired on Arewa24. He was born in Kano State and did all his conventional education, from primary school to tertiary, in Kano State.
He is a diploma holder and currently a film actor who has featured in many Hausa films. His character as a Yoruba person earned him the recognition he’s currently enjoying.
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How did you get the role you are playing in Dadin Kowa?
I got the role after an audition by the TV station. Out of the 21 people who auditioned for the role, I was the 21st and the lucky one to get the role. It was the role of a stubborn young man of Yoruba origin.
It will interest you to note that among the artistes auditioned, there were indigenous Yorubas, but I succeeded maybe because I can speak the language despite being a Hausa man. Perhaps, my dual language ability was what gave me an edge over the rest and to seal it, I delivered the role as expected.
Have you featured in other films apart from Dadin Kowa?
Yes, I have featured in various Kannywood films such as ‘Kwana Bakwai’, ‘Bakwai da Wata’, ‘Ya Mace’, among many others. Moreover, I am currently working on some TV series as well and I am sure more roles will be coming my way.
How would you compare Rasaki of Dadin Kowa and Muhammad Usman?
These are two different personalities, while Rasaki is a troubled youth who engages in various dubious characters; Muhammad Usman is an easy-going person whose character goes contrary to that of Rasaki. What people see on their television is just an act.
How do you manage to act like such a miscreant with perfection?
As an artiste, one is expected to have knowledge of almost every kind of behaviour. What I normally do is to lock myself in my room and practice according to the script given to me. In most cases, I use a mirror in my room to practice and assess my performance, and if I am satisfied with the outcome, it means I am going to execute it perfectly on set.
What is your view on the assertion that acting is a work for miscreants?
People are entitled to their opinion and you can’t force them to like what you do or what you produce. You can’t convince everyone to understand what you do; if you stop to attend to every dog that barks at you on your way, you will go nowhere.
In every profession, you can’t rule out the fact that, there are good and bad eggs.
How would you describe your perception of the industry before you joined it and afterwards?
Actually, I have not seen any difference. I respected the practitioners before I joined the industry and I still respect them now that I’m part of them. To me, the industry is one big family and that’s how it is to us upcoming artists.
Is it true that a lot of Kannywood artistes do not take acting as a profession?
I do not think there is anyone in Kannywood who has not taken what he does in the industry as a profession. Acting is a noble profession that allows us to lawfully feed ourselves and take care of our family’s needs. To me personally, acting is like a religion to us.
How would you describe the transition of Kannywood products from the traditional ways to the digital world?
Indeed, it is good because it has brought with it multiple opportunities for practitioners to explore and make good use of it. However, it is very important for authorities concerned to monitor and guide all Hausa contents going into these new mediums embraced by Kannywood operators.
What is your take on the recent revocation of licenses of all Kannywood practitioners?
I personally see the move as a positive one aimed at sanitizing the industry towards strict adherence to the laid down rules and regulations. If you assess the calibre of the new leader of Kano State film censorship board, you will find out that he is an individual who has been in the industry for decades. I am sure with his vast knowledge and understanding of the industry, he will definitely bring about knew changes that will take the industry to a greater height.
Do you think Hausa films can make it to international streaming platforms?
I am very optimistic that Kannywood can or rather Kannywood has already made it to the international streaming platforms like Netflix, among others. Moreover, we do have our own platforms that have been doing absolutely fine in the northern entertainment industry. As a matter of fact, Kannywood has become a household name worldwide.
What makes Kannywood different from other film industries in Nigeria?
The differences between the two well-known film making industries in Nigeria that is Kannywood and Nollywood are, in Kannywood we are protecting the Hausa language, norms and values of the Hausa people, we are strictly dishing out Hausa content. You will be amazed to see that there are a lot of people who have come to learn the language through the films we do, while many people are now more acquainted with the Hausa people’s way of life through the films that Kannywood dish out to its audience worldwide.