Why film depicting Boko Haram atrocities won’t premiere in Nigeria – Producer

Dubbed Kannywood’s “bad boy”, Zaharaddeen Sani, is well known for the many villain roles he portrays in Kannywood flicks.

His forthcoming movie “Abu Hassan” is highly awaited. Set in the north, the movie, a first of its kind in Nigeria, explores the intricacies behind the activities of a dreaded terror group, which unleashes so much havoc in the state before being confronted and defeated by the military.

The heightened anticipation the movie’s trailer has garnered, has ensured that Kannywood fans wait with bated breath for the its final release.

PREMIUM TIMES’ Mohammed Lere met with Zaharaddeen in Kaduna where he defended his decision to premiere the film in Ghana instead of Nigeria.

PT: Abu Hassan is highly anticipated by your fans. Why are you yet to release it?

Zaharadden: Yes, the release has actually taken some time since I got approval from the Film Censors Board. But, like I once told you, this is not those run-of-the-mill films that people are used to. It is action-packed and it is centered on criminality and kidnappings. It took me a long to even get the nod of the censor’s board and the SSS. All this contributed to the delay. I also need to be careful not to do something that will mar my commitment to making a one-of its kind film in the north and Nigeria.

PT: So when are you likely to premiere the film?

Zaharaddeen: The film is going to be premiered during the Sallah festivities in Ghana and then in Nigeria.

PT: Why Ghana first?

Zaharaddeen: As I said earlier, I am doing something out of the box. We have great fans in many African countries and Ghana is one of them. For the first time I thought to take something to them so they can feel at home too. It is not bad to do so. They are all lovers of Kannywood and they will love us more if we are also lend a hand of friendship.

PT: Don’t you think Nigerians, especially your fans, will be unhappy having waited this long?

Zaharaddeen: I don’t think so. The film will be shown in Ghana while other films will be shown at the same time in Nigeria. Let me tell you something, Kannywood has changed the way it now sells it films. The issue of piracy is really affecting us. So the industry has concluded that henceforth every Kannywood movie will be shown only in Cinemas for some time before they get released to the market. So if you are a pirate you will wait until it gets to the market. Filmmakers have agreed on that.

PT: But don’t forget that some northern states no longer have cinema houses.

Zaharaddeen: This is one issue that the regulators are still talking about because as it stands, films will only be shown in Kano because it has cinemas and film viewing centers.  The other states will have to wait until it gets to the market. But since it is just a pilot phase, more cinemas and viewing centers will be encouraged in other states so they can have these movies as they break. This is how it is done in developed countries.

PT: So, Ghana will see Abu Hassan first then Nigeria?

Zaharaddeen: I am not sure if Nigeria might be next. This is because I intend to stay back in Ghana for a couple of weeks before I return.

PT: Is it that you could not secure a slot to premiere the film in Nigeria know fully well that films like Mansoor Rariya are already scheduled for release during Sallah? Could that be the reason you settled for Ghana first?

Zaharaddeen:  Not at all. As I said earlier, I want do something different. Besides Ghanaians are also our fans and lovers. When I return I will premiere it in Nigeria.

PT: Don’t you think some pirates will follow you to Ghana and sneak a copy back to Nigeria?

Zaharaddeen: No, It is well protected Insha Allah.

PT: Thank You and Barka da Sallah.

Zaharaddeen: Thank You Premium Times.


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