Breaking Borders: ‘Up and Close’ With Ali Nuhu (@alinuhu)


The ‘face’ of Kannywood has metamorphosed into one sought and courted by movie-makers, home and abroad, because of the acceptability his starring brings and, most importantly, for his ability.

The 39-year-old, who says he is only just beginning, has got everything to be proud about – his family, his achievements, accolades, fame, career, his humbleness and everything in-between.
Take us into your acting world. What’s new?
Recently, things have been happening for me and, like I always do, I thank Almighty Allah for making things happen for me. Though it is always not easy, I consider my career first in everything I do. If at all success matters, then hard word is the bench mark.

I always concentrate on my script, reflecting on the kind of roles I play. Those are some of the enzymes that keep my profession going. Since my debut, whenever I go to shoot a new movie, I feel as if I am just beginning. I don’t look down on the people I work with, whether they be co-actors or producers. I am happy I like what I am doing.

There are so many new things in my acting life. Recently, I won the Nigerian Entertainment Award which took place in New York. I [have]got so many awards here and there. I was voted the Best Actor award at the just concluded MTN Kannywood Awards in Kano, Nollywood Awards in Delta, and so many others.

I am also one of the few Nigerian actors who have been signed on to endorse brands. Recently, I was signed on as a Samsung ambassador. I am also a Globacom ambassador (though it was once terminated, talks are on and I might become one again). I have a couple of such endorsements.

As a universal actor, how do you see Nollywood and Kannywood?
As it is, both Nollywood and Kannywood are developing rapidly. What I think both industries need is co-production or collaborations with others like Hollywood and Bollywood. Things are happening outside there and Nigerians have good stories to tell the world. I am of the opinion that we can make it, given the amount of talent we possess and the peculiar gift of film-making which our people possess, amongst other factors. Therefore, Nigeria will surely see the light in the motion picture world.

Can you discuss your fee? How much is your sign-on fee in movies?
(Laughter) I don’t discuss my fee or how much I charge per movie. I can only tell you that, business-wise, it all depends on the script. Some roles may be too demanding and costly, so we always consider these [factors]when signing roles in movies.

Between Nollywood and Kannywood producers, who pay you more?
(Deep sigh) I am kindda confused now. Nollywood did pay more, but I can tell you that the producers in the Hausa movie industry are gradually paying more.

You seems to be very busy; how do you juggle your acting career and your family affairs?
True, I am a very busy artist, but I create time for my family. Just recently I took them out on vacation to the United Arab Emirates. We had fun and a lot of time to ourselves. My wife and children understand and I am always proud of them.

I barely know you; could you, please, tell us the personality behind Ali Nuhu?
(Laughter) I am simple and original. I always want to prove to people who I am, so that I can go on to live a normal life, but I come across hurdles. Even if you try to do that, people will always want to tell you that you are the actor they see on their screen. Quite challenging, I must confess. For instance, I want to walk on the street just like every other person, but people will not let you be. They always need your autograph, to pose with you for a snap, your attention and all of that. But the only time I get to do all this is probably when I travel out where no one knows me.

Therefore, the personality behind Ali Nuhu is Ali! (Laughter) I am as simple as the average man on the street; I only take on roles to play certain characters in a movie, but I am Ali and Ali Nuhu is always himself!

Are you telling us that life is so difficult for celebrities in Nigeria?
Of course, it is; there is nowhere I can walk freely in Nigeria. If I go to villages in Imo State, they say; ‘This is Onye ugwu – person from the north…’ and If I come to the north, any village I visit, I hear them say; ‘Sarki Ali…’.

Do you feel unsafe moving around? Have you ever been threatened?
Honestly, I don’t think along that line. I don’t think negatively. Note that since we have been talking, there have been no bodyguards around me.

How do comprehend your scripts, do you employ the services of consultants or assistants who help you organise a comprehensive schedule?
I do so many things on my own. I tried doing all these before, but the Nigerian factor has been an impediment. You see, if you allow someone go through your script and advice you or interpret it in such a way it can ease your schedules, you might be misled.  People are so married to their interests such that the person you are employing to serve as a manager, assistant or secretary might not give you what you want. So many actors face this challenge; it is very rare to get a trusted person that can lead you to the Promised Land.

I had to create time for myself, read my script and draw-up a schedule that would suit me. For example, I read my scripts after the morning (subhi) prayers.

How do you unwind?

I am one person who loves watching movies, dancing and hanging out with friends.

Celebrities are known for their lifestyles. How do you manage scandals when you find yourself in one?
I am sure no celebrity would want to find himself in a scandalous of any sort. But they happen occasionally and, as far as I am concerned, I lay the blame at the doorstep of the actors. Some stars feel that unless you engage in some sort of negative things, you won’t make news. I consider that to be so untrue. Do positive things and see the results; always endeavour to leave a legacy for others to emulate.
Tell us about your love life.

My wife, my wife! My wife!! (laughter). When people talk about love, I quickly remember my wife. She is my love, my life!

How do you overcome winks from your numerous fans, especially women?
When you are in the limelight, people will surely make passes at you, especially women. But I don’t attach much importance to it. This is not to say I don’t appreciate them, but then you really need to work and avoid anything that will distract you. You should know when to draw a line and when a lady tries to cross it, you make her understand who you are.

How rich are you now?
(Laughing hard) I am not rich o! (Laughter), but I live a very comfortable life. As far as I am concerned, when you live a comfortable life, you give back to society some positive things.

So many artists are now given to establishing non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Do you see yourself going that way any time?

I have succeeded in imparting good things in peoples’ lives without setting up an NGO. Most people who engage in setting up such NGOs are just doing that for their selfish reasons, not for the society. You don’t need to buy beverages and go pose with motherless babies to celebrate your birthday, just to let them know that you care for them. There are so many reasons for helping people. Tell any entertainer who is managing an NGO that he/she is lying; that fellow is not doing that for the interest of the larger society, but for him/herself. If they are doing for the people, then we ought to see the results, the effect on the people they claim to help.  The only thing they do is map out strategies on how to extract money from donors, government institutions or personalities in the name of helping the society. That said, I am Ali Nuhu and if I want to help the society, I don’t need to stage any foundation. I can do it the right way.

Who do you look up to?
I so much appreciate Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Olu Jacobs, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, Tahir Fagge and the Late Hauwa Ali Dodo (Biba).

I am one person who loves watching movies, dancing and hanging out with friends.

Interview conducted by a reporter of Leadership Newspaper


  1. Shane Black on

    This dude’s videos are all over the hausa community in the state. Tho I never liked him, he’s a great talent.

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