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Kannywood to Nollywood: Ali Nuhu, Rahama Sadau, other Northern actors bridging the gap

A major beauty about Nigeria is its diverse ethnic groups and how everyone endeavours to co-exist in peace. It is the same for the Nigerian…

A major beauty about Nigeria is its diverse ethnic groups and how everyone endeavours to co-exist in peace. It is the same for the Nigerian film industry as the country’s movie sector has diverse groups.

Popular amongst them are Kannywood and Nollywood. Although both sectors are thousands of miles apart and have different audiences, there are some actors working effortlessly to bridge the gap. Daily Trust highlights some actors bridging the gap between Kannywood and Nollywood.


Ali Nuhu

Born on March 15, 1974, Ali Nuhu is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the Hausa movie industry.

To his credit, he has featured in over 160 Hausa and 110 English movies and earned numerous accolades. Nuhu is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time in the history of Hausa cinema.

Nuhu was born in Maiduguri, Borno State, but he grew up in Jos and Kano. To hone his skills, he attended the University of Southern California, where he studied a course in film production and cinematic arts.

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Kannywood to Nollywood: Ali Nuhu, Rahama Sadau, other Northern actors bridging the gap

Nuhu made his acting debut with the 1999 film ‘Abin sirri ne’. He is best known for his role in Sangaya, which is said to be one of the highest-grossing Hausa films at the time.

Crossing over to Nollywood, the movie star has featured in blockbusters like Banana Island Ghost, Diamond In the Sky (a Netflix production), Zero Hour, to mention a few.


Rahama Sadau

Some may not know but the multi-facet entertainer, Rahama Sadau, is also a singer and dancer.

Born on December 7, 1997, she was raised in Kaduna. The ace actress performed in dancing competitions as a child and during her school years. She rose to fame in late 2013 after joining the Kannywood movie industry with her first movie, ‘Gani ga Wane’.

It was gathered that she joined the Kannywood movie industry in 2013 through Ali Nuhu. By 2016, she was recognized as the ‘Face of Kannywood’.

In October 2016, Sadau had successfully crossed over to Nollywood as she featured in a movie series on EbonyLife TV.

Some other projects she has starred in the Nollywood movie sector include Up North, Zero Hour, MTV Shuga, Sons of the Caliphate, among others.


Sani Danja

Not only did this prolific actor succeed in crossing over from Kannywood to Nollywood, but he also bagged an ambassadorial deal with Nigeria’s giant telecommunication company, Globacom.

Born Sani Musa Abdullahi on April 20, 1973, the thespian, who is also a singer and a dancer, was turbaned by the Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar, as Zakin Arewa.


He ventured into the Hausa movie scene in 1999 in the movie ‘Dalibai’.  Danja also produced and directed films such as Manakisa, Kwarya tabi Kwarya, Jaheed, Nagari, Wasiyya, Harsashi, Gidauniya, Daham, Jarida, Matashiya, among others.

However, he made his 2012 Nollywood debut in Daughter of the River. Since then, he has featured in blockbusters like; Nimbe, Gold Statue, Dark Closet, amongst others.


Paul Sambo

Born in Bauchi on January 27, 1976, Paul Sambo is an actor and a filmmaker who has featured in Kannywood and Nollywood movies.

In 2012, he featured as Mr Brown in a romantic drama titled Mr. & Mrs where he starred alongside Joseph Benjamin, Paul Apel, Nse Ikpe-Etim, and veteran actress, Barbara Soki.

Also, in 2017, Paul Sambo took a lead role as Duke in the drama movie titled “The Patient”, co-directed by Angel Ogbue and Tola Taye Balogun.

In 2018, he featured in a lead role as Nurudeen Gobir in Kemi Adetiba’s epic crime drama titled “King of Boys”. The movie is one of the biggest casts of his career. He has also featured in projects like, Sons of The Caliphate, Life or Death, Lagos to Abuja Coach, amongst others.


Sani Mu’azu

Born on May 2, 1960, in Jos, the father of three attended the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos State after graduating from the University of Jos where he read Mass Communication.

The award-winning actor and filmmaker is one of the prominent faces in Kannywood.


Sani Mu’azu has been in the Nigerian movie industry for about two decades. He produced a film in 2007 titled ‘Mountain Blues’, which won the Best Feature Film Award at the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) in 2019.

He is popular for his role as Inspector Shehu in the blockbuster, King Of Boys. He also featured in other award-winning films like; Lion Heart, Up North, MTV Shuga, etc.




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