interviewBy Mohammed S. Shehu
Kaduna — Few weeks after the circulation of a sex video clip of a famous Hausa actress Maryam Hiyana ruptured the Kannywood industry, some people have started faking nude videos with look-alikes of famous actresses in a bid to further ridicule the industry that is trying to recuperate from the Hiyana scandal.
The new fake clip, which has found its way to the screens of many mobile phones, has led to the arrest of two young men accused of manipulating it to look like the face of famous actress, Mansurah Isah. In this interview, the actress' husband Sani Danja, himself a movie star, dismissed the clip as the handiwork of blackmailers orchestrated to attack the family. He also bares his mind on the recent suspension of 19 members of Kannywood and how they are trying to correct the battered image of the industry among other issues. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: As the chairman of the council, what is your reaction to the Hiyana sex clip associated with the Kannywood industry and the condemnation that followed it?
Sani Danja: It is an unusual thing because it has never happened before. In fact, I think it is the first of its kind in the Kano film industry. But you should understand that it was not a film or part of any clip from the industry. It was a private thing they did but people decided to invade their privacy. However, it becomes an issue because of the stardom of one of the persons involved in that act. But it has nothing to do with Kannywood as an industry.
WM: After that incident, some members of the industry were suspended. How and why did you reach that conclusion?
Danja: Well, about 19 artistes were suspended and in order to give them fair hearing, we have created a panel to screen them against what they were alleged to have committed. And they have the right to defend themselves before the panel. So, if they prove their innocence, they would be reinstated into the industry. But you should understand that what we are doing is to cleanse the industry from any form of wrongdoing. Therefore, if the suspended members feel they were wrongly dismissed, they have the right to come to the panel to protect their own interest. If they are found not guilty, they would be returned.
WM: What are the charges against the 19 suspended artistes?
Danja: The Hiyana saga created serious tension in the industry; therefore, we had to find a way to douse that tension. So, we look at members who have been violating the rules and regulations of the council. We sat down, talked to our elders in the association and sought advice before we pencilled them out of the association.
WM: Were they involved in the Hiyana scandal?
Danja: No, they were not part of it. They were suspended because they don't abide by the rules and regulations of the industry. Our members should understand whatever they do, they are being watched by the society. So, if they misbehave, the public will attribute that to the industry, likewise if an artiste does something good, it will follow. Since the Hiyana problem, people have been calling me like I was part of the clip. So, it is good for us to avoid action inimical to the reputation of the industry.
WM: What is your reaction to the new, widely-circulated video clip which seems to show the face of your wife, Mansurah Isah?
Danja: Well, as a leader, you must expect some blackmail especially from people who are not happy with what you are doing. Every action you take, people are bound to misinterpret it. As a leader, people will always criticise and some desperate ones not happy with your actions, will launch their attack but the problem is that you will not know from where they are launching their attack. But if anybody attacks your wife, children or people close to you, that person has automatically attacked you. But as a leader, one must be cautious not to hurriedly jump into conclusion because it may not augur well for the industry. Sometime you have to take things very easy and pray to God to protect you wherever you are and whatever you do.
WT: Have you seen the clip in question?
Danja: Yes, I have seen it. It is just an American X-rated video that they tried to manipulate Mansurah's face onto. But they will not succeed. In fact, even because of the importance of marriage and how marriage is very important in Islam, God will not give them the chance to tarnish our images.
WT: How did she react when she was told of it?
Danja: Well, when I heard of it, I got a copy and took it home. So, when I got home, I covered the title of the clip because they put her name on it before I showed it to her. When she saw it, she was even asking me about it. She couldn't even figure out the face. But before that, there were rumours going round that after the Hiyana clip, more clips of artistes were going to come out, so she was even asking whether the lady was another artiste. So after she watched the clip about four times, I then showed her the title bearing her name and when she saw it, she was shocked. She was not happy. I encouraged her to be strong and dismissed it. I told her that the essence was to separate us but since I was the one who brought home the clip, she shouldn't worry herself.
WM: How would you react to rumours that after the Hiyana scandal, the artistes are now sharply divided on some of the measures taken by your association?
Danja: No, we are not divided.
WT: How do you look at the sanctions placed on film making in Kannywood?
Danja: No, there was no sanction. We decided to suspend all our activities until further notice to enable us to make some adjustment. When the atmosphere becomes clear for us to start producing, we will commence operation.