By Abba Gwale
Izzar So is one of the current Hausa series that has become a commercial success despite being only accessible on Youtube. The storyline attracted many people especially youth who spend hours on Youtube watching movies.
SAHELIAN TIMES interviewed the leading actress of Izzar So, Aisha Najamu, who played the role of Hajiya Nafisa in the series.
ST: Can you tell us your full name and background?
Aisha: My name is Aisha Abdulra’uf, but people call me Aisha Najamu. I attended both primary and secondary schools but I didn’t further my education beyond that. Alhamdulillah, I am happy with my status now.
ST: How did you arrive at Kannywood industry?
Aisha: I can’t recall. You will be a bit surprised if I tell you what happened. I had never been in Kano before I started acting, but I have a friend there who is a director in the Kannywood. I told him that if I visit Kano I would want to visit the film industry to see how they are shooting films, and he agreed. He promised me that one day he would invite me to witness the process. After a few days, he called my phone and said to me he is going out for shooting and if I have time I can follow him. I quickly said yes.
As we arrived at the scene some of the crew complained to him that a particular girl who was supposed to be in a scene did not arrive, and they were running out of time. After a few minutes, he approached me and asked if I can replace the girl that did not show up. I said to him I had never faced a camera and I can’t do it, but he insisted. I agreed and got on set. He convinced me that I could even perform better than what they were expecting from me. To cut it short, I just found myself as an actress in a day without even dreaming about it for a second.
ST: Who is that director?
Aisha: He is one of the directors in Kannywood who produced many films, and he is still producing. However, I won’t tell you his name.
ST: What motivated you to join the industry?
Aisha: I did not believe that I could be an actress. I only knew that I loved acting and I wanted to be an actress. After that fiasco, I felt that I can do it and started developing interest in acting. I asked my director friend that if there is another chance, I am ready to use that opportunity again, which he promised to help me.
ST: How did you find yourself in Izzar So?
Aisha: The producer just called and informed me about the story, and I just felt that I had to give it a try. I accepted the role and we started shooting. That’s it.
ST: Which of your roles do you love the most?
Aisha: My current role in Izzar So is my favorite role, and I want that particular role in every film. I just want to see myself dealing with people, showing them that I am the boss because I am woman. I love arrogance but only in films.
ST: Apart from Izzar So, did you feature in another film?
Aisha: Yes, I featured in a particular film called “Direba Makaho” because I love such films. I love films that portray village life. I want to laugh and have fun when shooting a movie.
ST: Do you have boyfriend in the film industry?
Aisha: No, I don’t have. I belong to everybody and I don’t side with any group if there is any in the industry.
ST: When are you going to get married?
Aisha: I don’t know. I was married before and I am ready if another opportunity arrives.
ST: Do you have children?
Aisha: Yes, I have two male children.
ST: What qualities do you like in a husband now?
Aisha: I love a God-fearing husband; someone that can take care of me for the sake of Allah.
ST: Who inspires you among male and female actors?
Aisha: I told you earlier, I love everyone, I am ready to work with anybody. Acting is my business.
ST: Do you want to act in Nollywood movies?
Aisha: Yes and no (laughs). I can act in one if it does not contradict my religion, and I can’t act in a film that will portray my religion negatively or to generate controversy in the industry. I don’t like that.
ST: Did Bollywood influence you?
Aisha: No, I don’t watch it at all.
ST: Recently, people especially on social media labeled you as Shi’ite. What happened?
Aisha: I am not Shi’ite; I just love a song about Sayyidina Aliyu. I sang it and posted it on social media, and people knew that it was the month of Sayyadina Ali’s birthday. People celebrate the day worldwide, and I joined them.
ST: Does that mean you have Shi’ite ideology?
Aisha: I don’t have any Shi’ite ideology. I love my religion, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and follow the Almighty God. I don’t have any business with Shi’a.
ST: Did you regret what happened?
Aisha: No. I did not offend anybody! I don’t regret it. I posted it on my personal page. Who said Sayyadina Ali belong to the Shi’ite only? Are we going to surrender him to them? He does not exclusively belong to them; he belongs to all Muslims. Anything I would say about Sayyadina Ali, people already know it.
ST: There are allegations of immorality among actresses in the industry, what can you say about it?
Aisha: There are challenges in every business, so it depends on who is involved in it and how you look at it. You either follow the wrong way or the right way, so whoever follows the wrong way should account for his own misdeed. That is it.
ST: Apart from Kannywood, do you have other businesses because the pay from making movies is meager?
Aisha: I am into businesses. If we go to work in the industry, we also get money from those that hire us to work for them. After I sang that song for Sayyadina Ali, wallahi, I got uncountable number of gifts such as perfumes, wrappers, laces and monetary gifts. I was surprised.
ST: Recently, a former actress, Ummi Zee-Zee said she felt like committing suicide because a fraudster scammed her. Do you have anything to say about the matter?
Aisha: I don’t even know about the story until now.
ST: What advice can you give to upcoming actresses?
Aisha: There are challenges. We that are in the business are suffering, and if a girl wants to join she is welcome. But she should prepare for abuses, accusations, and many more that we are suffering from. If a girl can maintain herself, then there is no problem. The problem is you don’t know what is happening until you join. Everybody wants to be popular but the most challenging thing is you will meet many people who also want to be popular. You can spend more than 10 years in the industry but somebody can emerge from nowhere and become popular within days or months. We should just pray for ourselves and do what we can do.
ST: Thank you for sparing time to answer our questions.
Aisha: Thank you too.