|A scene in Kannyhwood. Source:http://www.premiumtimesng.com|
Since the movie, Leaving in Bondage, the Nigerian movie industry has grown to become a global show, watched not only in Africa but also by the African diaspora.
Initially, Nigerian movies were made largely in the south-east and feature actors from that region of the country. But the success of southeastern movies led to the development of the movie industry in the South-west and the North of the country as well. When the wood “Nollywood” is mentioned, it refers to movies made from the south-east of the country. This is because when the word was invented, the Northern and southwestern industries were at the level of conception. And when the northern movie industry started, stakeholders chose to name it Kannywood. This is because it started in Kano city in the North. In Nigeria, we refer to the industry in the South-west simply as Yoruba Movies. So, in Nigeria, when we mention the word “Nollywood” we know that we are talking about movies from the south-east of the country, in contrast to southwestern and northern counterparts.
I haven’t been a fan of Nollywood. This is because, in my judgement, a larger percentage of the movies are highly unethical. They often concentrate on the storyline, refusing the heed the quality of the scenes. But even the storylines are often preposterous: the subjects are, most times, boring clichés that do not reflect the diverse subjects of the real world. You also get the feeling that the directors are always in a rush to complete the movies, not minding how the rush dent the quality of the eventual movies.
Since the South of Nigeria is educationally more advanced than the north, we often assume that anything coming from the north will be of a poorer standard. It is part of the reason why movies from Kannywood aren’t getting a fair amount of our attention. The second part of the reason is that you can’t watch them if you don’t understand Hausa. When, eventually, I started watching Kannywood movies, it was by chance, while I scroll through the movie channels of my Multi-Choice TV bouquet. Luckily for me, I understand Hausa, coming from a region of the country where Hausa is also spoken. I find Hausa movies very captivating because, even though the themes of the movies are largely romance, they naturally reflect a diversity of the subject, without the boredom that has become the seal of Nollywood movies. Plus, the storylines always seem real.
Even though I find Hausa movies to be ahead of Nollywood Movies, they also have a few grey areas. Hausas are very fascinated by Indian culture. Sadly, the Indian culture reflects in Kannywood. Each time the mimicry of Indian-styled singing and dancing begins to manifest in Hausa movies, I get turned off, feeling irritated. Recently, while watching a Hausa movie, I also realised that even background music that reflects the mood of a scene is sometimes a tune that one has heard in some Indian movies, with strong Indian flairs. I feel that Nigerian movies should reflect Nigerian cultures and traditions. When minority tribes are featured in the movies, they are portrayed as unserious and conservative people, a portrayal that is not true.
The art is a mirror to society. Hence our movies should reflect a true character of our society.