- Director: Hafizu Bello
- Producer: Abubakar Bashir Mai-Shadda
- Screenplay: Naziru Alkanawiy
- Language: Hausa
- Company: Mai-Shadda Global Resources Limited
- Release Date: 9/7/2022
- Cast: Amal Umar, Nura Hussaini, Adam A. Zango, Sani Danja, Shamsu Dan Iya, Sani Mu’azu, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Sadiya Umar, Abdurrazak Sultan, etc.
You can hardly see a ‘thriller’ or a ‘crime mystery film’ in Kannywood’s archive. Recently, however, the trend has begun to change, as the rare genre is being explored by the veteran director Hafizu Bello. After presenting the murder mystery film HIKIMA in 2021, he came again with another one entitled AISHA. It revolves around the eponymous character, a rape victim who eventually dies, and her parents’ struggle for justice.
Aisha (Amal Umar) is a university student from a low-income family. Her father, Malam Balarabe (Nura Hussaini), tries his best to see her success. However, one fateful day, she is found lying, raped and wounded on campus. The police soon arrive and take her to the hospital. Meanwhile, the university management is more concerned about the school’s reputation. They, therefore, conspire with the police officer in charge of the case, SP Audu Makera (Adam A. Zango) and the doctor (Abba El- Mustapha) to hide the embarrassing incident.
Aisha’s parents are upset and anxious to know the cause of their daughter’s critical condition, but the doctor refuses to tell them. Therefore, her father questions the official report issued after she dies and files a petition to get justice. The audience is then taken to the courtroom, where everything is unmasked at the end.
Typical of mystery films, the plot is uncommonly twisted. Many sequences are cut before they end and later continued as flashbacks, particularly when the suspects are interrogated. There are more flashbacks as the defendants and witnesses talk during the court sessions. But all are flawlessly pieced together. The credit should go to the director, Hafizu Bello, who handles the film with the finesse of a devoted artist. Other crew members also did remarkably well. The cinematography is top-notch, and the locations are beautiful. There is also good use of costumes and props.
The film exposes the grim reality in some higher institutions where the students commit serious misconduct. It can also be a wake-up call for parents to be extra cautious about their female children. We see how Aisha duped her father into believing she would spend her night in the hostel but ended up in her boyfriend’s room, where the tragedy later befalls her. The film also highlights how the elite plot against the masses to protect their selfish interests.
Indeed, Aisha is a decent, well-crafted movie with a strong message and realistic narrative. However, the University setting and courtroom dramas make it somewhat formulaic, resembling the director’s previous film Hikima. It would’ve also been more intriguing if it had begun from the scene where Aisha is shown lying on the ground.
The film has an all-star cast, and the actors fit their respective roles. But some of them, like Yakubu Muhammad and Baballe Hayatu, are wasted as minor characters. The eponymous heroine (Amal Umar), the prime suspect (Shamsu Dan Iya) and the security personnel (Sani Danja and Adam A. Zango) all try to pull off good performances. However, it’s Nura Hussaini that steals every scene he features. The courage and anguish he communicates as Aisha’s hapless father seem extremely real. The lawyers (Sani Mu’azu and Sadiya Umar) and the judge (Kanayo O. Kanayo) also play their part with remarkable capacity.
Although Aisha is not a masterpiece, it’s better than the fluffs Kannywood churn out regularly. I, therefore, strongly recommend it—rating 3.5/5.
Habibu Maaruf Abdu