Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Between Bollywood and Kannywood, Which One Commands the Market?

The entertainment industry in the North especially films revolves around Bollywood and Kannywood. This is because of the cosmopolitan nature of the region. In this piece by AKILU ABDULLAHI in Kano, he looks at the influence of these two institutions in the northern parts of Nigeria.

The taxi driver pressed on the stereo system of the car and filled the ears of passengers with soft melody of Indian music, clearly displaying his flair for Bollywood.

Aliyu Ladan, the driver, said he preferred Bollywood to Kannywood films after a careful observation of their modes of screenplay.

The driver, in his mid 30s says, " I have observed several factors like acting, style, costume, dressing and songs and realised that Kannywood is no match for Bollywood."

What angered him against Kannywood is that according to him, "Their settings, styles, songs and the whole cast is just a copy of Bollywood in essence."

He expected Kannywood to evolve its own style independent of Indian, Chinese or American styles advising that, "Kannywood should come with its own modus operandi in accordance with our culture and tradition."

For 52-year old Sani Durumin Saudi (alias King Kong), Bollywood is most favoured by the elderly while Kennywood is the pastime of the younger generation.

"In our young days, we went to cinema to watch mostly Indian films. The cinemas were Orion. Plaza, Palace, Eldorado and Sheila. All these cinemas competed in showing Indian films. So, I am sure those in my age group are inclined toward Bollywood."

He lamented that there were considerable differences in then and today's films because, "In our days the films were meant to convey messages, teach lessons,, morals, obedience, tolerance and eventually warn against danger though adventurous.

Mustapha Fagge, an image maker frowned at the acting styles of Kannywood as not fully composed, but lacking in diversity and at times, totally off the mark.

Kannywood nearly have the same theme: love and marriage."

Another woman activist Hajiya Larai Ado also believed that Kannywood still had a long way to go. According to her, "The problem is with the setting. I was in the USA when we heard that our people had begun producing films and I sent for some, but while viewing it, we saw the actors singing in a field of flowers quite alien to our culture. We never watched since then."

Among others however, Kannywood is more of relevance considering generational factors in terms of those who patronize it.

Hayatu Bala, a dealer in hand-set accessories noted that, "the time is now for us to imbibe cultural spirits. How can we develop when we shun what is ours? We cannot continue on a borrowed culture."

Hauwa Jaen also believed that Kannywood taught lessons of the world and so it is her own favourite, any day.

In her words, "You learn of the problems of love and hate, of marriage and in-laws, on what polygamy entails, etc. These serve as lessons to would-be couples. By applying most of the messages in Kannywood works, marriages and affairs can last longer, "she advised.

To another lady, Baraatu, Kannywood is a source of entertainment and humour for her. She said: "I laugh off any sorrow when I watch Ibro, Hankaka, Ladan, Baba Ari and others doing their antics. They make me hilarious."

Baraatu also noted another advantage of Kannywood over Bollywood in that there is no language barrier.

"The conversation is in my mother tongue, so I do not need any bar line interpretation of what is going on stage. This way, I will not be misled or misinformed," she believed.

However, dealers are of varying opinions as to which of them carry the day in terms of sales and patronage in the market place.

Haruna, 'Mai Cassette', whose shed is at Bata Bus stop, Kano, said the balance could be perceived to be even because in his estimation, "When others request for Bolly, others would call for Kanny. I believe it is a balance equation."

But Hassan Majiya disagreed saying, "It is a question of the population aggregate. The youth form majority and they are the ones who purchase the bulk of Kannywood. So also the housewives, it is their source of relaxation. In fact, I only trade in Kannywood CDs." The crux of the matter is that when most of the elderly and a few youth patronize Bollywood, most youths and housewives with a few elderly ones go for Kannywood, so, it is numbers that decide. Why they do so depends on taste.

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