Once more a Kannywood film is winning nominations for awards. Rakiya Sidi tells the story of Hafsah as scripted by artists who are becoming conscious about HIV/AIDS
Recently, the film Hafsah generated controversy in the Hausa film industry, with the claim by some clerics that the film has gone against certain rules and regulations of the Islamic religion. The film produced and directed by Sani Mu’azu, the president of the Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) is about a girl Hafsah who came to the limelight of the music industry as a result of her voice.
Hafsah found herself in the mixed of the disabled because she was stigmatised by her family, reason being that she tested HIV positive, as a result of which her husband sent her packing and her family could not stand being with her, so she left her village to the city with the hope of finding some relief to her problems, vowing not to allow HIV to kill her.
One of the lessons thought in this film is that HIV patient should not be stigmatised. They should rather be encouraged. It is shown in the film that infected persons can marry uninfected persons without any fear of being infected, and can even give birth to healthy children.
Also the film teaches self reliance; Hafsah comes into the city in a state of despair. But she is discovered by Hafiz and contracted as a singer. She begins to earn a living and to sustain herself and the disabled she is living with, before she ultimately attains success.
However, the directors of the film didn’t appear to place enough significance on the costumes of the casts. The supporting actress, Linda, is costumed in western style throughout, perhaps to emphasise her portrayal as a non Muslim, notwithstanding that she is a northerner. This is a demonstration of what laymen often call ‘overacting’.
Also, part of the short comings of the film is the anticlimax or under-emphasis in the delivery of the theme message. Hafsah tells Hafiz that an infected person and uninfected person can get married and lead normal lives. There ought to have been detailed explanation on how that can happen, in order to drive home the message that stigmatisation is an anomaly; that HIV infected people are not done for; and that they need understanding and care from uninfected persons to lead normal lives. But the sketchy treatment here leaves much to be desired as any watcher of the movie remains unconvinced and can be sure to dismiss this fact as mere nonsense.
The producers can credit for an exceptional picture quality of the film; Hafsah is one of the best pictured Hausa movies the reviewer has ever seen. But it has the problem of sound synchronisation, as the rhythm between sound and picture are mistimed.
Generally, the movie is creative and another good addition to the Kannywood stable. No wonder the film has been nominated in AMAA awards for best upcoming actress award. Zainab Idris acted as Hafsah, while Hauwa Ali Dodo acted as Linda and Ali Nuhu featured as the lead actor Hafiz. Hafsah has displayed talent in dancing, and most of the people that acted in the film had their field day on the dance floor.