Ban On Kannywood Movies Stifles Creativity – Film Director

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Mediaage NG News – KANO, Nigeria

Film director, Aminu Mukhtar Umar said ban on some Kannywood movies might stifle creativity and freedom of expression which is the backbone of any movie industry.

This comes on the back of warnings issued by Kano state’s censorship unit that cross-dressing, when men wear women’s clothes or vice versa, was against local islamic practices.

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Such scenes are often included in films to inject an element of comedy.

But, the authorities said cross-dressing is not part of local culture.

It said it wants to protect the society, after it received public complaints concerning some films portraying indecent acts. Films it says play a huge role in affecting societal behaviours.

There is rising concern about violent crime in Kano State and the authorities are under pressure to deal with an increase in robberies committed by gangs.

“Whether we like it or not, Kano has a thug problem and films contribute to it by their portrayals and it is where some learn how to go about it”, Abba Al-Mustapha said in a video shared on social media.

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Although, Mr. Mustapha said directors who had already finished films that contain banned scenes had one month to make changes.

He said the films already in circulation would not have to be withdrawn.

“We can’t control what has happened in the past but we can draw a line from now and make things better which we hope to do.”

Reacting to the ban, Mr. Umar Mukhtar said “the better way to do this would have been to bring in experts on these issues to meet with Kannywood writers so that knowledge would be gained on how to go about it”.

Mr Umar’s film ‘Makaranta’ once had issues with the censorship unit in 2022 which it deemed immoral. It was a film about sex education and also tackled issues like female genital mutilation.

Kannywood began in the 1990s but, plays second fiddle to the popular, glamorous and more globally recognised southern Nigeria’s Nollywood. Kannywood is inspired by India’s Bollywood films, which explains the affection for songs and dance in the majority of its films.

It is based in Kano, hence the name. Although not all films are produced in the state, it is by far the main market so even those films produced elsewhere would have to comply with Kano state regulations.

However, it still produces hundreds of films each year, which are also popular in countries where there is a Hausa-speaking population such as Ghana, Cameroon and Niger.

In order to comply with Sharia, male and female actors are not allowed to touch each other even if they are portraying a husband and wife.

Kano is one of the 12 mostly Muslim states in northern Nigeria which implement Islamic law, or Sharia. alongside secular law.

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