Kaduna rich people don’t have sense of investment in entertainment – Rikadawa aka Dilla


Alhaji Rabiu Rikadawa popularly known as Dilla is arguably one of the most popular elder characters in Kannywood. In this interview with Abdullahi Mohammad Jibrin, the Kaduna-based actor speaks on life as a celebrity and his relationship with his children. He also speaks on the challenges, prospects and the need for Kaduna State Government and private investors to invest in the film industry in the state.
Kaduna State has witnessed a significant growth in Hausa film production some few years back. But today, film production in the state has dropped considerably. What is responsible for this decline?
Well, if you observed carefully when the film business was flourishing in Kaduna, you will realize that most of the producers were not Kaduna-based. Most of them were producers from Kano State who came in with their money, produced their films here and left. Kaduna at the time just provided these strangers with a safer and a more conducive haven for their businesses.
So, what really happened was that filmmakers from neighboring states, especially Kano came in with their money, produced their films here and they left. Unfortunately, instead of the Kaduna State filmmakers to come in and learn the business and invest in it, they were reluctant, they stayed behind and when these people left, it was as though they left with everything. We were not able to get big producers to come in, invest and continue with the tempo at which the Kano filmmakers left the industry in the state.
The truth of the matter is that film business is actually controlled by producers; executive producers. They are the ones that invest their money to produce big movies. Unfortunately, here in Kaduna, we have very few big producers that invest into the business. They are very few; Adamu Zango, Mudassiru M. Barimi, Falalu Dorayi, and then myself. We are very few. This is not the case over there in Kano; they have big and willing producers that are investing big into the business there.
What could be the reason for the apathy for this lucrative business in Kaduna State? We have rich people in the state, why do you think they are not investing?
You know Kaduna is a civil servants’ state and civil servants are scared of investing their hard earned money in businesses like this. Civil servants know that at the end of every month their salary will certainly come, so why stress themselves. But Kano people are business oriented; a small boy in Kano can invest huge sums of money into a movie with the hope of gaining profit when the movie is released. They have big producers. That’s the difference.
Kaduna-based actors and actresses are arguably among the biggest stars in Kannywood and these stars are paid big money. Are they also scared of investing in the production?
Well, you are right. Kaduna has some of the biggest and most prominent stars in Kannywood. In fact, Kaduna stars presently dominate the Hausa film industry; Adam A. Zango, Hadiza Gabon, Faty Washa, Umma Shehu, Faty Shu’uma and me. We also have alot of other promising young stars that are doing well in the industry.
In terms of workforce or labour, Kaduna artistes are doing well but like I said earlier, it is very difficult for a Kaduna man to put his money into film business; Kaduna people are somewhat scared of risking their money to do business.
I will like to use this opportunity to call on the Kaduna State Government and business men in the state to come and invest heavily in filmmaking; filmmaking business is lucrative, filmmaking is really reliable. I therefore call on the big people in the state to come in their numbers and invest. It will provide job opportunities for our unemployed youths and most importantly, it is a very lucrative business.
You have been acting for a very long time now, but last few years have been the most successful years of your career. Today, you are arguably the most popular elderly character in Kannywood. What’s the secret of your success in the last few years?
Well, I think the secret is hard work and dedication. Acting is a make-believe, what we do in movies is not who we really are, we metamorphose to whatever role the script wants us to. If the script wants you to play a religious leader, people should see a religious leader in you, if the script wants you to act an Emir tomorrow; you should be able to perfectly fit into the assigned character. I think the secret is my hardwork and dedication to my work. I was only doing my job and the stardom came and Alhamdulillah, here I am at the top. I thank God. Sometimes I will be too busy that I don’t even have my own time. I can’t specifically pin point what the major attraction is but Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah.
Some actors would act any role giving to them as long as the pay is good; some would act only certain roles and would reject certain roles. Do you reject certain roles? If yes, what kinds of roles do you often turn down?
What I want people to know is that acting is just a make believe, it is not real. Acting is just trying to copy a particular character assigned by the script. What people see on the screen is not real; it’s just acting. I don’t see any problem with somebody acting any role in a movie, the problem lies in the inability of the actor to properly act the role assigned to him; that’s where the problem is. I don’t think there is any role I cannot play as long as it conforms with the Hausa culture.
Does that mean that you don’t reject scripts; everything goes?
No, that is not what I mean. Of course I do reject scripts. Because some stories you can’t make a head or tail out them; some stories are just patched from different stories. Some scripts if you read them are just remakes of some successful movies that have been produced in the past. I have rejected so many scripts on that ground. If the script does not make any sense then why should one be in the film? Some scripts you will read over and over but it will still not make sense. I reject such scripts.
You are a family man with children and I have seen you play some weird, negative, funny characters in some comedy films in Kannywood. How do you think your children feel when they see you act such roles, do they really understand?
Well, Alhamdulillahi, I have a very understanding family that really knows who I am. My children know that I am a good father. I sit and talk with my children. In my free time, I take my children out, we talk a lot and we understand each other. I am always there when they need me.
My children know who their father is; they know what their father is capable of doing and what he will never do. Sometimes when I am really tired, I give them my scripts to read for me while I listen. So, they know most of the scripts even before they see the movies on screen. And that is why when there is any amendment; omission or addition of what is originally in the script during production, they know and they would ask me questions like “why did they change this why did they change that?”. I have a very understanding family that understands my job.
So, if I act a character of a mad person in a movie, they know that their father is not mad. If I act a role of a Governor or a President in the movies, they very well know that their father is not a Governor or a President. They know that I am only acting such roles in the movies. So, what I am saying here is that my family understands me very well. They know what I do for living and most importantly, they know who I am as a person.
What are the major attractions and benefits of this famous career aside the monetary gains?
Well, Rabiu Rikadawa is a not Governor, Rabiu Rikadawa is not a President and I am neither a member of the National Assembly nor a Minister in Nigeria. I am not a politician. But with the fame I gained in this business, I can have access to the President, Governors and Ministers in the country. You may be richer than me and still struggle to have access to these offices I mentioned.
So, one of the major advantages of this career is the fame it gives its practitioners which money alone may not be enough to buy.

What then will you say are the major disadvantages of acting as a career?
The major disadvantage of this career is the expensive life it will force you to live. The moment you sell your face in the movies and gain fame, the consequences is that you will have no privacy. You will have to be mindful of how you talk, how you dress, where you go, who you mingle with and the most worrisome of them all, what you buy. You will be forced to live a very expensive life.
For example, as an ordinary person, you can go to any local food joint and enjoy your local meal at a very low cost, but as a celebrity I will be forced to go to a big expensive restaurant to avoid crowd and enjoy my meal.


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