Indiyawan Kano and a Call to Arms for Nollywood

Yusuf Baba Gar’s investigation of “Folktales in Kannywood Videos” interrogated the storylines in Kannywood (the film industry in Kano, the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria) videos, and highlighted how cultures can transcend geographies through film and folktales.

It also speaks to the never-ending debate around migration, migrants and acculturation of settlers in a host context. Interestingly the intercultural integration and amalgam of cultures as something that is not much envisaged.

Disaggregating, Kannywood from the broader Nollywood, he draws attention to a growing crop of actors/actresses described as the “Indiyawan Kano”(The Indians of Kano). Yes, you heard/ read right – the Indians of Kano.

The following articles are worth reflecting upon.

First, the study by Professor Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim of the Institute of African Studies and Egyptology University of Cologne entitled “Kannywood and the ‘Menace’ of Appropriation of Romantic Movies,” echoes this view. As Professor Muhsin points out about his article:

“This paper is set out to discuss this issue through a content analysis of a recent film titled Sareena (2019, dir. Ali Nuhu). The movie, released early this year (2019), is not only a bloated, implausible melodrama but also a direct mimicry of a famous Indian film, Kaabil (2017, dir. Sanjay Gupta).”

Another study by Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu of the Bayero University, Kano on ‘Currying favour: eastern media influences and the Hausa video film’, confirms this ‘new’ narrative. Indeed, the professor has more recently written about “The Linguistic Domestication of Indian Films in the Hausa Language,” and all the red flags being raised.

Professor Muhsin highlighted how Hindi (arguably Bollywood) films have been appropriatedh in Hausa from songs (e.g. So Bryan Ki) to storyline (e.g. Ciwon Ido, Burin Zuciya and Zo Mu Zauna), and even choreography (Zabari).

The question now is whether the burgeoning Nigerian movie industry should continue with its current identity crisis or seek a more wholesome trajectory? Nollywood, Kannywood or a more inclusive CineNaija.

Nnamdi O. Madichie teaches and researches Marketing at the Dundee Business School, Abertay University. His research interests straddle marketing (arts, consumer behaviour, entertainment, film and media marketing) and entrepreneurship (ethnic, gender and diasporic). He is author of “The Nigerian Movie Industry ‘Nollywood’ a nearly perfect marketing case study” as well as the Palgrave book “Digital Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa” which features two chapters on Nollywood. Madichie was also Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Business & Economic Research between 2012 and 2018. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and Visiting Professor at the Unizik Business School, Awka, Nigeria. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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