December 9, 2014, will remain an unforgettable day for Kannywood because it was the day popular Kannywood comedian Rabilu Musa, popularly known as Ibro, died.
No doubt, his exit from the industry left a huge gap that has been difficult to fill and since his demise, the Hausa film industry has been battling with several attempts to find a replacement for the multi-talented actor.
A lot of fans agree that the gap left by the comedian will not be easy to fill while others are of the view that it is only a matter of time before another star will definitely arise and fill that gap.
Late Rabilu is known for his ability to twist every scenario and every expression into a comical scene or display; a trait that earned him the tag of ‘King of comedy’ in the industry as well as earned him respect as an elder. Perhaps, this was the reason behind his well-known title in the industry as ‘Chairman’.
Late Ibro produced some films under his production company – Ibro Drama Group, the last of which was the film ‘Andamali’.
Suleiman Bosho, who featured alongside Ibro in most of his movies before his death, was seen as a natural replacement for the late Ibro. Bosho was in some of late Ibro’s films such as ‘Dan Ba’ura’, ‘Bori’, ‘Babban Direba’, among others. This made fans see Bosho as the only actor that would fit rightly into the space Ibro left behind in the industry.
There are also artists like Rabi’u Ibrahim Daushe – a disciple of late Rabilu Musa, Mustapha Naburaska, Musa Mai Sana’a, Dan Dolo, among others, as possible successors of late Rabilu Musa in the Hausa comedy industry.
Interestingly, another contending artist touted as a possible replacement to Rabilu Musa is the late actor’s son Hannafi. Hannafi, who physically looks like his father, has a passion for acting. He is the fifth of the 19 children the late comedian left behind.
Hannafi, in an interview with BBC Hausa, said his dream is to continue from where his father stopped.
“It is clear that my father’s contribution to the industry would forever be remembered. I am a witness to the fact that when people are angry or in a bad mood, they usually watch my father’s videos to get relief. I want to follow in the same direction because I also want to make people smile,” he said.
The young actor also revealed that he took permission from his family to join the industry in his bid to inherit what his father was known for. According to him, he had wanted to start earlier but he had to finish school as requested by his relatives before finally venturing into the filmmaking business.
Hannafi has finished primary and secondary schools and is now in a college of education.
He has featured in films like Gidan Dambe among many TV skits and series usually aired on YouTube.
Mubarak Magaji, who claimed to have been a supporter of late Ibro, says “In deed, Kannywood will never be the same again without late Ibro. It was like he knew he would die because in his last film, he suddenly went spiritual. However, I have watched some of Hannafi’s skits, no doubt he looks like his father but I doubt much if he will get the needed support from the industry to replace his father. Hannafi is good and he reminds every Hausa film fan of late Ibro. What we are praying is for the industry to give the boy a fair chance,” he said.
However, Kannywood producer, director and actor, Falalu A Dorayi, eulogised late Ibro, describing his abilities and talents as gifts from God. “I don’t think the gap left behind by Ibro can ever be filled. He is unique in a way and the contribution he has made to the industry is immeasurable and I doubt if any artist can perfectly fit into the position he left behind,” he said.
However, many fans believe that with time, the late Rabilu Ibro’s son will catch up with the trend and will excel like his father in the entertainment industry, though most of them have reservations on whether the young artist will be as good as his father.
For Abbah Yusuf, who has been in the industry for over a decade, what young Hannafi needs is guidance and mentoring which he said only those that have understood the industry will be able to do for the young boy to fulfill his wish of continuing from where his father stopped.
However, Kannywood fans see Hannafi’s gradual rise in the industry as a way of saying ‘Ibro lives on’. To them, this is clear evidence that Ibro has gone but has returned in Hannafi.