Meet Kannywood’s only female director – Muhibbat Abdussalam

Muhibbat was inspired by her husband, Hassan Giggs.

Muhibbat Abdussalam is a phenomenon in the Hausa film industry, being the first and, presently, the only female director in Kannywood.

Her husband, Hassan Gigs, who inspired her to become a director, is a producer and director himself.

In this exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the movie director talks about her unique role in Kannywood.

PT: How did you get into directing?

MA: When I joined Kannywood in early 2000, I was just an actress. But while I was acting, even at that time, I was also imagining myself as a director, observing other directors at work. Luckily for me, I fell in love with one of the best directors at that time, Hassan Gigs. When he noticed my interest, he started to put me through, showing me what to do. Since we got married, we have directed movies together; usually with me as the assistant director. Movies like Sama, Suna and Mutane.

PT: Have you directed movies alone?

MA: Yes. I directed Yarda, Mutum and Mainara which featured Sani Danja’s wife,Mansura Isa.

PT: Being the only female director at the moment, don’t you feel intimidated working beside men in the industry?

MA: Not really, at all. Kannywood is like one family. We treat each other with respect and love. I have always enjoyed working with everybody in Kannywood.

PT: Apart from directing and acting, what other things do you do?

MA: The film industry is addictive. Once you are there, you wouldn’t want to do any other thing apart from it. But I do some buying and selling too.

PT: What would you say to women who are scared of going into directing?

MA: Actually most women (in Kannywood) have interest only in acting because they are not sure whether they can also be part of the real production crew .They believe an extra special skill is needed. However, that is not true. Women can be great in directing too and even be better than men.

Muhibbat on set
Muhibbat on set

PT: Are you better than your husband, Hassan Gigs, at the moment?

MA: (Laughs) Not really, Hassan is a genius. He is one of the greatest the industry has produced in terms of directing. But I’m coming up; soon I will beat him surely. He is my role model and I will someday be like him or even better.

PT: Are you currently training other women to be directors?

MA: Yes, we are working with other directors and producers to encourage other women who have interest in directing.

PT: In what way do you think the way movies are directed in Kannywood can be better?

MA: Through training classes and workshops. The industry should be able, from time to time, to invite film veterans to train us on more professional skills. Muhibbat - Kannywood Female Director

PT: How do you combine family life with directing?

MA: I find it interesting. It is what I want and I have no problem with that. I have two kids, Humaira and Azeema, who are doing fine. My love and everything, Hassan Gigs, is always there for me, to support me.

PT: Which other person inspires you in your career apart from you husband?

MA: Washh Waziri Hong, Ali Nuhu and, sorry, I would still mention my husband, Hassan Gigs.


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