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Why I stepped down ‘Boko Haram’ movie – Yaseen Auwal

Yaseen Auwal is a Kannywood director and Managing Director, UK Entertainment who has made a name for himself in the industry and inspired talents like…

Yaseen Auwal is a Kannywood director and Managing Director, UK Entertainment who has made a name for himself in the industry and inspired talents like Rahama Sadau. In July, the multi-award winning Auwal, would be marking his 25th anniversary as a filmmaker in the Hausa entertainment industry. The Mass Communication graduate from Bayero University Kano (BUK), speaks on his journey so far and his upcoming movie.

 

Weekend Magazine: What inspired you to venture into filmmaking?

Yaseen Auwal: I have been into filmmaking for a long time. I started as an actor, around 1994. My first film was under Sarauniya Film Production, Kano. I remember Gagare was the lead actor in the film. However, I didn’t pursue my career in acting, because I just wanted to be a man behind the camera. I then focused on producing in 200 before later becoming a director in 2001.

My friends and I contributed money to produce our first film. At the time, I was with Ishaq Sidi Ishaq a director and producer who directed our first film. When I took a decision to become a director, I sought advice from Ishaq and mentorship. I am glad he assisted me very well.

WM: What are some of your biggest challenges as a director in Kannywood?

Auwal: Right now, I am not facing any big or major challenge. I first do a feasibility study, when executing any project. I do it meticulously and with vim and vigour. All I can say is, most of the challenges I have faced so far, I overcome them due to resilience and steadfastness.

WM: Do you have a favourite among your movies?

Auwal: I love all my films, because I don’t direct any film if I don’t love its storyline. That is the reason I must read a script umpteen times before I take a decision on whether to direct it or not.

WM: Which of them posed the most challenge to you, working on?

Auwal: Most of my films were difficult. I don’t just direct or produce a film with just ‘action and cut.’ I like films that make me sweat before I come with it. My film ‘Mati A Zazzau’ was quite challenging. We shot it in Bauchi. There were many actors and managing them was a big task. ‘Wani Gari’ also was difficult and challenging, may be some people would watch the film and ask how was it difficult. The film has a village setting and normally shooting film in villages is always difficult.

WM: What is your reaction to the rumour making the round that you and the prominent actress, Rahama Sadau are getting married in no distant time?

Auwal: There is no love affair between me and Rahama. I was the one who brought her into Kannywood. I was her first director and since then we have maintained a cordial and a professional relationship. We are good friends. We sit down to discuss on several issues, be it personal or professional. She respects me and treats me with honour and I do the same.

WM: What is your happiest day in Kannyood?

Auwal: I don’t have a single day that I would tag or call happiest day and also I don’t have a day that I would say was my saddest day in Kannywood. Many pleasant things have happened to me in Kannywood, same as unpleasant. Let me even tell you something. Do you know that if my film becomes the topic of discussion or makes waves in the market, makes me happy for many days? And I have achieved that umpteen times.

WM: Some people imagine you to be temperamental. What do you say about this?

Auwal: Most of the people I meet do ask me such questions. I am not hot tempered, but I always speak the truth and I challenge people whenever they are doing wrong or are infringing on my rights. You can’t just wrong me and go away without my telling you. If I don’t tell you, you may be thinking you did the right thing or you didn’t even know what you did has infringed on my right or that it displeased me.  I don’t know, maybe because I am very serious or strict while on set, some people take take it as my being hot-tempered. I don’t joke or play while in location.

WM: Recently posters of your film ‘Nisan Kwana’ flooded social media, and there was a lot of noise when you released the pictures of the actor, Sadiq Sani Sadiq and actress Rahama Sadau in a romantic way. What made you do this?

Auwal: I did that to promote the film. What happened was that I sat down with my producer on how to promote it and we came up with that concept. I am glad we got the attention we needed because the stunt has served the purpose. I told Rahama and Sadiq who were the major characters of the film, that since people are suspecting you are in love, then let’s come up with your pre-wedding pictures. We did that and people started talking. After the issue dominated social media spaces and gathered the momentum we needed, we then released the name of the movie, ‘Nisan Kwana’ in the film Sadiq and Rahama act as a couple and I am sure the film would be a blockbuster.

WM: Two years ago, you released ‘Aliko’ with Sadiq Sani Sadiq chewing stick in the poster and dressed like the Boko Haram, leader, Abubakar Shekau. After some noise on the social media, the matter has died down. Would it be right to say the idea for the movie has been shelved?

Auwal: It is true that after I released the poster of the film there was noise and complaints from people, especially my colleagues in Kannywood. They were afraid, because they said producing the film would make Kannywood become Boko Haram’s soft target. I reasoned with my colleagues and then put the shooting of the film on hold. However, now I have asked the scriptwriter of the film to modify the story. In a nutshell I will shoot the film in no distant time.

WM: Would the film depict the abduction of Chibok Girls?

Auwal: The film would focus on sensitization on the dangers of terror groups and would also talk on the negative impacts of the activities of the terror groups on society. I just don’t want to let the cat out of the bag until the film is released into the market.

 

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