Halima Atete, often referred to as the Queen of Kannywood, is one of the popular actresses and producers that have carved their niche in the industry. In this interview with MARYAM HASSAN of Daily Nigerian, she talks about her career, challenges and efforts at giving back to the society.
You started acting from the least of roles to the highest and you now pride yourself as not only a successful actress, but also a film producer. Could you share with us some of your initial challenges?
When I joined the industry newly, I was always very jittery before the camera, or when I was asked to play alongside top-class actors or actresses. But I quickly overcome that. However, my colleagues in the industry have been very cooperative; they assisted me to grow easily. Talking about roles, I have ever acted as a Truck driver in ‘Kallabi’, where I was even attacked by armed robbers. I also featured as an Army Commander and as ‘Matamaza’ – hermaphrodite in another film. So, the journey has been nice, slow but steady.
Other movie industries like Nollywood give out loans to interested persons that want to produce films. Is there anything like that in the Kannywood industry?
No there isn’t, but sometimes back some of our producers were given, but it happened just once in a blue moon.
What will you like to change in the industry?
Like I told you earlier, whenever we have misunderstandings in the industry, it is almost everywhere on social media. I really don’t like it. It is supposed to be a family affair, just within the house. It is the only thing that disturbs me in the industry. I don’t mind any other thing as long as it has nothing to do with me.
Who are you intimate with in the industry?
Well, there is Jamilu Yakasai, German Dan Arewa Film makers, the likes of Sheikh Isa Alolo, Usman Mu’azu, Nazifi Asnanic and my boss, Abubakar A. S. Maikwai. He was the first person that stared me in his movie.
When I asked of your close friends, you didn’t mention any lady, are you the boss lady?
No. All of them are my friends, the likes of Aisha Tsamiya and Co. We talk and play around whenever we meet. I told you earlier that I do not fight with anybody.
You are mostly very troublesome in all the films you appear in. Is this your-real life trait?
It is all acting. I am not like that in reality unless if you look for my trouble.
What is your dream for the industry?
I want this industry to be better than it is now because we women have a very limited time in the industry. So the men and those that are yet to join, I want us to be one big family. That is the only key to our success. I also want our marketing to be better and redefined.
Being a producer also, don’t you equally believe that India-Hausa movies have dropped Kannywood’s market?
Well, some people say it has already affected us, but some still believe that it is in no way interfering with our work. I am yet to understand it. I believe it is normal for our market to rise and drop because it is just the way of life.
Do you have a message to your colleagues?
It’s nothing much. I just want us to be patient with one another. Whenever there is a fight, it should be just within the house. For us to be insulting and exposing each other on social media is not proper. We should also endeavour to respect our elders.
You are successful by all standards, what are you doing to give back to the society?
Well I am currently on a project. I have some children in Maiduguri that I want to sponsor their education. They are about 3,000. Since there are a lot of people that donate food items to them, I think I should give them education. We have had meeting with the SEMA’s chairman, Engr Satomi Ahmad. It is our state so we just have to help. I have the pictures of their uniforms, papers, school materials and stuff.
How would you like to encourage others in the industry to follow suit?
There are some that are already into such acts. So for us that are doing it, I pray that God will help us and those that want to start too, may God help them.
People would like to know who you are in a relationship with.
Well, I’m afraid that is confidential and it should just remain that way. You know people like talking too much these days.
Can you describe your future hubby in few words?
Well, I don’t like a person with two faces. I am also the jealous type, but even if he is married, I can certainly be with him if I really fall for him.