Adorable and soft spoken actor, Nuhu Alihu is the most popular and hottest actor from the northern part of Nigeria – and he’s still climbing the ladder of fame in Nollywood.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the dark skinned father of two at Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The versatile actor spoke on his career, family, why he speaks fluent English, why he is the hottest and much more.
You are the hottest and most popular Northern actor in Nollywood and Kannywood, how does this make you feel?
You said to, but I don’t know. I feel good, I am happy. I feel humbled and also think there are a couple of actors who are very hot and popular too.
What would you say is the secret of your success?
I must say I have mapped out for myself what I want my career to look like, what I want to achieve as each stage of my career. And I think it has been working for me. Maybe that is why people look at me differently.
You are a father, an actor and you live in the North. How do you juggle family life with your work?
I got married eight years ago. I am blessed with two lovely children. Honestly, it is not easy juggling family, but thank God I have a very understanding wife. We are in the North, we live in Kano presently. My wife is very understanding. She takes very good care of the home in my absence, and I am very grateful to God for giving me a wonderful woman. I have been acting before we started courting. So, she understands everything about my routine before she came into my life.
After our kids, she still understands the whole thing. She makes the kids understand that daddy is not always around but I try to make out time for them. Whenever I am on break, I am with my family 24/7. In fact, the kids are used to me than their mother.
What do you enjoy most about you career?
I enjoy acting other people’s life, people’s way of living and character.
How do you juggle Nollywood and Kannywood?
The first few months of the year in Kannywood, I take a break for a month then the next few months is for Nollywood. That is what I do, and they don’ clash.
Some people say you don’t want to bring in new talents from Kannywood to Nollywood. That it’s just you and you alone. How true is it?
I have never heard about it, I am hearing it for the first time. I must tell you that when it comes to Kannywood, I am a movie producer, I run a movie production company. My company discovered the highest number of talents in Kannywood And I have not started producing English movies. If I have started producing English movies and I am not involving young talents, then you can accuse me of that. You cannot just walk up to somebody and say you have to promote that person.
In a couple of situations, I have suggested other people in place of me for some commercials and movies that I could not do for one reason or the other, and in most cases, most of the young stars from the North are not comfortable with Nollywood because they feel the culture, movie making and everything about Nollywood is different from that of the North.
How then did you break away from that culture to become so popular in Nollywood?
Right from childhood, I had a passion for movies, I called them soap operas because I watched Behind The Cloud, Mirror in the Sun and their likes. So, I had this passion. My idea and perception of movie making has never been northern, eastern of southern. It’s been movies and movies. Even if it is an Indian or Chinese movie, I don’t care. I am comfortable with it, I can do it.
How come you don’t sound Hausa at all? A lot of people don’t even know you are an actor from the Northern part of Nigeria?
In the north, there are lots of guys like me, people who don’t look or sound Hausa. The only thing is that, like I said earlier, people from the North are not comfortable with entertainment generally. So, they don’t come into the film production that is why you rarely find Hausa guys like me in Nollywood. Most of them are not interested in the movie industry and they are not willing to do it for any reason.
I don’t sound Hausa because my parents are educated. So, as I was growing up, they made sure they taught me how to speak English. My mother and my father were educated by missionaries. They speak Queens English. So, in my house, if you must speak English at all, you need to speak proper English not just any English.
Compare Kannywood and Nollywood, what is missing?
The difference between Kannywood and Nollywood, I think is just the cultural aspect of the stories, the content of the stories. Most stories from the north deal with Islam, Hausa and Fulani culture, while in the South, most of the stories have to do with Christianity, Igbo or Yoruba culture. Aside that, I don’t see any culture.
We’ve heard stories of some Kannywood actresses being punished for wearing indecent dressing in films, how true is it?
I have never come across such. They were not punished, they were only asked to dress decently. They were asked not to dress the way some do in movies and that has to do with the perception of the audience in the North. Those in the north are the ones complaining.
So, the government is not saying you should not to movies that will go alongside with our culture or the values of the people of the north, that is what the law is saying. They were only asked to dress decently in movies because of our culture, no one was punished.
Do you do your daily prayers as a Muslim?
Yes, I pray five times daily.
You mean you don’t compromise as a star even on location?
Why should I compromise because I am a celebrity? Of course, I do my daily prayers regularly. I say my prayers even on set. There is a movie I acted in, Queen of the Jungle, I was fasting when we shot the movie. The other car in the movie were Christians but we did it on a Sunday. At times, they ask me to get my mat and pray. It is normal thing. I do my daily prayers.
As a Muslim, Islam permits a man to marry more than one wife. Are you considering having more than one wife?
No, I am not considering that. It is said of the prophet that you can marry more than one wife, but that is if you will not be partial. As for me, I don’t have the intention of taking a second wife because I don’t think I will be just. I think I will be partial because I have my wife so much that if any other woman comes around, she will be uncomfortable.
Is that why you flaunt your family on the internet?
No Some people feel it you are a successful actor, and you are married, you might end up losing your female fans. But it’s not like that. Whoever likes you or your job will continue adorning you irrespective of your marital status.
You are a good looking man, how do you cope with Nollywood babes?
Nollywood babes are my sisters and colleagues, nothing more. We are family.
How many wives does your father have?
My father married three wives but he never married two at a time. He broke up and married another. But I can never consider marrying more than one wife.
Tell us about your Glabacom deal. How did you get the job?
I just got a call to do it. I don’t know how or why they selected me. I just got a call, we discussed and I got the deal.
How much is the deal?
I don’t think I want to talk about that?
Which Nollywood actress do you enjoy working with?
Everyone of them. They are wonderful people. I enjoy working with them all.
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 9, 2011