ON Thursday, May 17, 2012, ENCOMIUM Weekly visited Nollywood star, Halima Abubakar in her Maryland, Lagos residence where she granted us an exclusive interview on life and career. The pretty thespian divulged the latest concerning her multi million naira movie, The Mistresses, her love life and much more.
What is the latest about your career?
The latest is that I have been busy. I thank God for that. It is not all about work, it is a bit of work, a bit of rest so that the body can rejuvenate for another fresh idea and task. That’s why after hard work, I take time off to rest.
What is the latest development about your movie, The Mistresses, it’s like it’s taking too long and a lot of people want to know why it’s not yet out?
There was a little technical delay but we are almost done with editing. We are through with the first editing. I went to do the corrections during which I also made on point job that is not too long. So, the unnecessary things will be yanked off. So, I need to personally supervise it. I also travelled abroad (UK) to be precise where I shot additional scenes. I have brought the tape back to Nigeria to be edited and added to the movie. In one of the tapes containing some of the scenes, shot in Nigeria, we discovered that the audio was bad so we have to reshoot which is what we are going to do very soon. It’s just about nine scenes. It’s not easy producing movie. It’s now I know that professionals don’t find it easy bringing out movies but in no time, I believe the whole thing will be completed. The thrillers of the movie had come out about two weeks ago and a lot of television stations have been using them on their programmes. By the grace of God, very soon, we shall view it.
It’s like you’re over expanding the movie because you didn’t tell us it would be shot in London the other time you spoke to us on it. You only told us about Nigeria and South Africa as the locations for the movie, why did you include London?
It was the opportunity I had that I utilized. I went to London for a youth programme, it’s a workshop for BBC. There I met some of the crew and Malanian Entertainment, London actually got one or two people for me. And coincidentally, the actress I actually wanted to give the role to in Nigeria was also in London with me. That’s Mariam Kekurah, a Sierra Leonean. So, I exploited the opportunity. She was supposed to be in the scenes shot in Nigeria but she couldn’t make it then. Now, we met in London and she featured in the London scenes. It’s great. I am the person that if I see any opportunity that will add value to anything I am doing, I don’t just sit down and look at it. I grab it and I make use of it immediately. I know a lot of resources might have gone into it but that does not matter. So, for you to get it right, you will actually make your gains out of it. Nobody will want to do business and lose out, what everybody target is profit. And I believe strongly that the effort is going to be rewarding and at the end, people will learn one or two things from the movie which is the most important thing to me.
The movie parades stars from how many countries now?
Just four countries, they are Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Sierra Leone.
Do you have it in your plan to premiere the movie?
I don’t want to call it a premiere, I am going to do what I personally call exclusive viewing. That’s my own idea. I like to do my own thing in a unique way. So, I am just doing a cocktail preview where there will be no seat for anybody no matter how big you are. It’s just a cocktail thing and I believe everybody is going to love it. That’s my own initiative and if I see any other person coming up with the same thing, that means the person is a copy cat (laughs).
Is the movie coming out in DVD or VCD?
We are aiming at releasing it on DVD.
We believe you might have shot above your budget, how are you coping?
Definitely, I have gone beyond what I budgeted. It’s not been easy, I don’t have sponsor. I am only doing it alone as a young girl but with God on my side, everything will be alright. Now that the meal is almost done, people can still come out to sponsor it, they can bring their adverts. We need such things to move the industry forward, we need to support each other. In Ghana, they support their actors, even the smallest among them. So, I don’t know why we can’t do that here in Nigeria. I need sponsorship, it’s never too late.
From the benefit of hindsight, what do you think is missing in Nollywood now that perhaps if it is added it will make the terrain better than you met it?
I think there is a lot of recycling of faces in some of our movies. When a producer is casting, you already know the actors that will be in it. That’s not a good business idea. If at all the movies are selling, people still want change. If you are using the same faces, you need to differentiate the roles. A person must not be a lead in every movie. An actor should not be stereotyped. You need to spread your tentacles to be able to reach out to a lot of fans in different forms.
People are saying Halima is among the best dressed actresses at the moment, what informs what you wear?
I don’t think I am. I am just someone that defines my own style, I don’t follow other people’s trend. I follow my own trend. I always like to be different. I make sure I wear what makes sense irrespective of whatever fashion critics would say. I am not meant to be perfect because I am a human being. I choose to be different because it’s about time somebody is different in an industry. So, if I am the one that is different among all the Nollywood actors, fine. I give God all the glory for that.
Recently you organized a dinner at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, for all the awards you have won so far, what informed the decision?
I just wanted to appreciate God and a lot of people that have directly or indirectly contributed to my career. Those that might have supported me or criticized me be it at my back or to my face. So, I didn’t want anybody to feel left out. I believe it’s just good to come together and celebrate one another. It’s not about me alone, the success is for us all and I was happy for the turn out. It was indeed a great gathering.
Like how much did you spend on that?
You should know me very well by now, I don’t like talking about money, money. I believe you will agree with me that it must have gulped a lot of money staging it at Oriental Hotel. My joy is that it’s a success.
What habit would you like to change?
I am an impatient person, I want to work on that. I get upset easily as well and I forget easily too but some I don’t, it may take a while. That’s just me. I want to really work on that as well. I am misunderstood because of that kind of reaction, I am emotional, I can’t hide that because I am an actress. As you see me, if you talk to me the way I don’t like, you can just see me crying, even in public. That’s Halima for you, you can see how emotional I could be. If at all I may be acting a school teacher in a movie. I am trust too much, I allow a lot of people to expose themselves because they come to you as friends but they actually need one or two contacts from you. But instead of them coming straight, they would be meandering. What they need is just come straight to me, I believe people had helped me so what does it cost me to help others. I don’t need to pretend to be your friend before I seek your help, I can just come to you straight and ask for whatever I need from you. I believe life is easier that way without pretence.
What do you cherish most?
My life and my family.
Sometime early this year, there was this tale that your relationship had collapsed, what is the truth about it?
The one you wrote? Anyway, it has been done and it has been done. In everything, there is always a rumour and also there are elements of truth in some stories. But to be honest, I am not going to say anything about my relationship again because I respect it a lot and I cherish the person involved. There is no need talking about what happened then, it has passed and let’s leave it at that.
Can’t you shed more light on it?
Just like I said, it has passed and let’s talk it that way. There is no need commenting on it again.
What is so confidential about it that you can’t share with us?
Why do you want to know about everything? Why not concentrate on my career alone? I am mysterious and I want it to remain so.
Do you want us to believe that everything about your relationship is perfect now?
I don’t know what you mean. To me, I know I am in love, deeply in love and I am happy about it.
Does that mean you have rearranged the cards again from their state of collapse?
I can’t understand what you are saying. All I know is that I am in a happy place. I am at peace, I am enjoying my relationship.
People seem not to understand who Halima Abubakar is really, who are you?
I am a Gemini, meaning I have multiple personality. I can be very happy now, the next minute I may be very sad. So, if you don’t know me well, you will think I am a very mysterious human being or I am a wild personality. That’s the way those of us who belong to that group are but I don’t want to be described with that characteristic again because I am gradually proving the Gemini wrong. This is not how things should be. Actually, everybody has his or her own bad times. That determines how you behave. Now, I am a very quiet person and I like to remain so. In the past, I made a lot of friends that paid me back with evil. So, because of that I try to be very careful. I am not saying I am trying to isolate myself, no but the truth is that I need to be very careful. I mix up with my colleagues and I appreciate that. What I only don’t like is opening up to somebody that will get my fingers burnt in the end. I believe it’s good to be nice to people.
When do you consider appropriate for you to get married?
I will know when the time comes. I just know that relationship is not something you rush into. Like I keep saying, there are lots of fake men and women out there. It’s never too late to make the right decision. We all need to be careful about the people we interact with. Whether we like it or not, the bait we throw determines the fish we catch. If you live a classy lifestyle, you will meet classy people and if you live a reckless lifestyle, you will attract reckless people who will come to you for different reasons and leave for the same reasons.
We learnt you and Tonto Dikeh are back as friends now?
(Cuts in) Did I ever tell you we’re quarreling? We never quarreled, we kind of lost touch with the basics of the friendship. She is someone that I like, I love her drive, she is very hard working. She is the kind of people that I like meeting, I mean people that will push me forward in my career. Whether or not people like it, everybody has his or her own good and bad side. We are all human beings, we are not expected to be perfect.
We also learnt a picture was posted on the internet recently, portraying the two of you as lesbians, what is…
(Cuts in) The truth is that I don’t think I have had any friend that they didn’t say we’re lesbians and I keep asking myself, “Has anybody ever caught me practicing lesbianism with anybody?” I don’t understand, does it mean two people can’t be friends except they are lesbians? That’s very bad.
- TADE ASIFAT
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, May 25, 2012