Clustered colours as Maimuna Abaji Yahaya’s first big fruit
Last Sunday in Lagos, a select crowd converged on Genesis Deluxe Cinema in Victoria Island for the exclusive première of Maimuna Abaji Yahaya’s first big fruit as movie producer, Clustered Colours.
Words of commendation poured out for the sterling actress and her crew for delivering a movie that would resonate with the yearning cinema crowd when it opens in cinemas across Nigeria in January next year. Interestingly, quite a number of the guests, but mainly new entrants to the industry, who attended the premiere assumed that Maimuna was new in the industry. No, she is not a new face in Nollywood; the Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Jos has been grabbing roles on television and in movies for close to two decades now.
Best remembered for her role as Emotan in that long rested Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) series, After the Storm, it was on the back of that popular television series that Maimuna rode to emerge a constant visitor to homes across Nigeria and to indeed become one of Nigeria’s beloved screen actresses.
Although still grabbing roles and doing well as an actress, she has joined the league of actresses signing movies as producers.Clustered Colours is her first big fruit and Maimuna is so excited about the project. She said: “The story is centered around a television presenter and an event convener who organised a quiz on her talk show that x-rays challenges in marriages, called Bond.
“Three lucky couples emerged as winners. These families who were chosen represented the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa regions of Nigeria. The reward was an all-expense paid trip to a resort tucked away in Epe, Jubilee Chalets. “Away from distractions, the couples have more time to bond, foster intimacy and work out their differences.”
Directed by Remi Ibinola, the movie stars notable screen actors, such as Deyemi Okanlanwon, Paul Adams, Tunbosun Aiyedehin, Mary Lazarus, Emeka Okoye, Lucy Ameh, Stan Nze and Maimuna, with guest appearances by Tosin Martins, the love crooners, Ozzmanic, and Mrs. Oghoghor Eleshin.
“It is a fusion of the veterans and the younger generation,” she explained. A native of Sabongari in Idah, Kogi State, described by close friends and colleagues described as principled, humble, resourceful and elegant, Maimuna, who is married with children, not only found fame and fortune playing Emotan, but the actress, who was raised in Idah, melted weekly into the heart of the nation with her unerring acting skills.
Star of several television series and movie productions, including Hills and Valley, Living in Lagos, Spider, Shadows, Heartbeat, Plumber and other hit films, the ever-smiling and courteous Maimuna, who is mentoring a large population of young girls in Kogi, and still feels an overpowering nostalgia for her first major television lead role, Emotan, was actually sent to study Law at the University of Jos.
But it was on getting to Jos, in her first year as a Law student, that her acting artistry started blossoming. She found herself daily at the open-air theatre when she should be taking classes in commercial law. As days passed, her interest in the acting vocation soared. She sees theatre, till date, as a way of expressing herself. It was not surprising, therefore, that she switched from law to Theatre Arts.
Although she faced resistance at home, her father eventually gave his blessings after he was convinced that for Maimuna, it was theatre or nothing. An actress and producer whose career ambition is to work at being the best that she can possibly be as an entertainer, Maimuna, who admires the acting skills of Angela Basset, Edith Jayne Azuh and Joke Jacobs, has no regret being an entertainer.
“ I have no regrets. I enjoy what I am doing. The only time I have stayed away was for making babies. But I am fine and I enjoy what I am doing,” she enthused.
Asked how she has been able to combine acting with being a mother, Maimuna, who spends her off screen periods taking care of the home front, visiting people and watching movies, said it has not been easy, although she has overtime found a way of out of it.She explained: “All I have been doing is to create time for everybody and everyone in my life and time for myself. I love to do the job and so I take a job and give myself a break, a holiday, and I spend that time with my family. That has been the secret.
“As a single lady, you can wake up and take your decision, go to any location and come back when you like. But as a mother, you are responsible to someone and you have to take care of the children. The family has to come first.”
Would it be one-off with Clustered Colours? She said: “No. I will do more. I am still hoping to get enough funds to tell the Inikpi story, because it is about my people. Any Igala person should be interested in the Inikpi story, because to an extent, Inikpi marked the independence of the Igala kingdom. “I am hoping I will get the kind of support I need to tell that story. That is something that people can refer to in years to come.”