Ali Nuhu… In Yahaya Bello’s filmic frame
There is just no air about this bright northern star. The humble, hardworking, courageous and committed actor mixed up freely with everyone when Moviedom ran into him on a movie set in Lokoja, Kogi State.
An actor whose excellent acting skills backed by a determination to succeed has placed him far ahead of his peers, Ali Nuhu was first to flash an honest smile and thrust his right hand for a handshake when an excited fan recognised him and hailed him.
“I have been in Lokoja now for a week; it’s a quiet and peaceful town. Very peaceful,” he said in response to a question on what he was doing in the confluence city.
An award-winning actor, Ali, recipient of the best promising act award of the 2007 edition of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA), is in Lokoja as the lead actor of the film on the current governor of Kogi State Yahaya Bello titled Yahaya the White Lion. Directed by Tunde Olaoye, the film is produced by the duo of Seun Olokuteyi and Segun Olonade. Oloketuyi is the publisher of Best of Nollywood magazine and convener of the annual Best of Nollywood Awards.
“I was excited when Seun Oloketuyi the producer offered me the role because I am an ardent fan of Governor Yahaya Bello. Working with Seun and Tunde (Olaoye) has been amazing, as they are colleagues I have known for a long time, but this is the first movie project we are doing together,” Ali said in response to a question on how it feels living the role of a serving governor.
Asked if taking part in the movie will inspire him to venture into politics, Ali, a recipient of the Afro Hollywood award and the Best Actor crest of the Arewa Film award chuckled and replied: “Well, I come from a family that is into the politics, but I have never thought of the idea of running for any seat. Though the story is one that gives you hope and courage looking at the challenges His Excellency Yahaya Bello experienced, I do not think I can go into politics.”
An actor who is mainly attracted mainly to projects that have the potential of re-defining Nollywood as evidenced in his decision to star in the wave-making Sitanda; that Izu Ojukwu award-winning telling that earned Nuhu the Best Promising Act crest at the AMAA, Ali, a geography and town planning graduate of the University of Jos, began his professional career after his National Youth Service programme in Ibadan, Oyo State.
His first take in the movie was in the Hausa movie Abin Sirrine. It was that movie that shot him to the limelight and that opened the floodgate for the other movie credits that he has raked and has continued to rake in. indeed since Ali joined in, a little near three decades ago, his acting light has not dimmed. It has continued to shine brightly, a reason he is well regarded in Nollywood and Kannywood.
Star of Dijangala, Juyin Mulki, Mujadala and Intaha, Ali who also produces and who is at the head of a production company-FKD production, which he named after his late mother Hajiya Fatima Karderam Digema, was born in Maiduguri, Borno State, to an influential politician father and a caterer who ensured that he made perseverance his watchword. Star of Showdown, My Brother and Death, Holy Law, Unchained, The Seat of Caliphate and other English titles, Ali said he got into acting by chance.
He recalled that he was exposed to a television advert calling for talents to show up for an audition. He was then an undergraduate. He spoke to a few friends about the invite and they all encouraged him to give it a shot. He did and was auditioned and eventually selected. That marked the beginning for Ali who has so far taken part in a number of local and internationally acclaimed projects and productions.
He was in Saudi Arabia in 2003 to shoot Khusufi, a feature film; in London in 2005 to shoot Haula, in Libreville in 2006 to shoot Iso and Surah among other international projects.
A regular feature in the BBC Service Trust’s didactic television series titled Wetin Dey and star of Sanni Muazu movie on HIV Hafsah, Ali who has lost count of the number of movies in his credit pouch list dancing and writing as his hobbies and he adds that he would have preferred a career in the civil service if he was not an actor.
“I have lost count of the number of movies I featured in. My most memorable ones are Sitanda, Sangaya, Wasila and Filazal,” he said.
An old boy of Government Science Secondary School, Dawakin Tofa in Kano State, Ali is one of the few actors in northern Nigeria that has been able to grab acting roles in English speaking Nollywood movies, a reason he is described as a cross over actor. Other crosses over actors from Kannywood include Sanni Muazu, Sanni Danja and Rahaman Sadau.
Ali explained in response to the question on why there are still a few Kannywood actors that can be described as cross over actors that the issue may not be unconnected with the fact that most actors from the North may not be comfortable playing some of the roles they are asked to play.
“Most actors from the North are not comfortable with the role given to them in Nollywood, I feel this is the reason why the number of cross over actors is below 10,’’ he explained.
On how he manages work and family, Ali whose career ambition is to excel and to become an internationally acclaimed actor said, “After so many years in the industry, I mastered the art of balancing between my work and family. As for whether my children are taking after me, well I think they are all gifted. I produced a movie recently and my children all acted in the movies as child actors. At the moment, Ahmad still acts even though he is more interested in Football. I will only guide them and I won’t dictate what they should do in terms of career.”