Halimar Abubakar means different things to different people. While some appreciate her guts and skill, a number of persons, especially from her Northern extraction take joy in discrediting everything she represents. Irrespective of what people think of her choice of career and dress sense, Halimar is gifted and extremely good at whatever role she cast. In this interview with our Reporter, Lucy Eazee, she talks about the low and high points of a career that has given her so much. Enjoy our special weekend menu.
How did your interest in acting develop?
As a young girl, I would sit several hours watching movies. I just wanted to be like them. In Kano, what we watched were mostly Indian movies. Thereafter, I started watching Third Eye on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). That was how I fell in love with acting.
How did you find your way into the movie industry?
I met Francis Duru in Kano. He came for Night of a Thousand Laughs. That was many years ago. I walked up to him and told him of my desire to be an actress. He gave me some addresses and told me to go there whenever I was in Lagos. When I eventually came to Lagos, I went for an audition. I didn’t get any job, so I went back to Kano. Much later, I came back and was able to get a job, including lead roles. My first lead role was actually Sisi in Gangstar Paradise.
Can you tell us about your movie?
Mistresses is a movie based on relationships and its complexities. It was done in Lagos and London. It centers on young people and seeks to expose the games ladies, especially Nigerian women and men play in relationships. Yvonne Nelson, Moyo Lawal and a host of other Nollywood stars featured in the movie.
Is there really anything like gender discrimination in Nollywood?
There are times you are given a role and producers decide to change the character to a guy, even when the script was written with a woman in mind. I have worked with someone who changed a role. He probably felt I could not do it but at least, he should have offered the role to another girl instead, he gave the role to a guy. To me, that was not good at all.
You are one of the few northerners in the movie industry; how come you made it so fast?
Oh yes. Even when they wanted me to leave, I refused. I guess I have this die-hard spirit. I don’t believe in quitting. I try very hard to stay stable and be myself. That has kept me going in this industry.
What encouraged you to become an actress, knowing the sentiments of people from your side of the country?
I started acting when I was in my teens. The awareness then was not that much. People didn’t really know much about movies up in the North then. It was after the millennium that people started being aware of the movie industry. When I started, I didn’t have a problem until people started making big issues out of nothing; even in those things that should not elicit any kind of reaction. Because of the way those things were eventually blown out of proportion, people were forced to take note. This expectedly brought controversies and bad comments from people. Basically, I don’t think it is a problem. When you are given a job to do, I guess you are supposed to do it very well.
You have really had your fair share of controversies.
Some people would have built ten houses out of those controversies. Well, I don’t know if I am controversial. I am a very good girl. I don’t set out to bring controversy to myself. I just go about my life in a normal way. If you think that is controversial, I don’t have any thing to say to that.
Was your career affected by the scandals?
Oh, yes it did. A lot of producers didn’t want to work with me. They used to see me as a very decent quiet girl. For them to see those pictures, it was very shocking to them. It took me some years to convince them that I can act very well. I am not all about snapping pictures and modelling. I am still trying to convince some of them. I refused to quit the industry like I told you before. That consistency sort of helped me out. I have built relationships again.
Are you married or into any relationship?
Oh! Do you have any husband for me? How old do you think I am? Is it because I have been in the industry for a long time? Anyway, if I see a man I have a strong connection with, I will get married. I am not saying I am young; probably I am being childish about the whole thing and I am not taking this issue serious. But I tell you, when I meet the man I know is good for me, nobody will tell me to get married. I would want to spend the rest of my life with that guy. Right now, guys in Nigeria are players. I don’t have strength for their wahala. Guys are very stingy. They don’t give ladies money these days. I work and I get paid. I am comfortable. I have a very big farm, although my father manages it for me.
Would you marry an actor?
No. I don’t think I will marry an actor. I like career guys. I am not saying acting is not a career. I want to marry a guy that will wake up in the morning and go to his office and come back later in the evening. I don’t think I have that heart for actors or musicians. My head would just be spinning and would be asking myself what he was doing at every point in time. Ha! I can’t marry an actor. The girls involved are too many. I don’t have such strength. Moreover, I have not seen that actor that would make me change my mind about marrying one.
What was the most regrettable thing that happened to you?
All the controversies! I wish they never happened. I wish people didn’t get to hear all those negative things, which were lies anyway. Then again, some of the friends I had in the past, I wish I never had them. I shouldn’t have been seen with them in the first place.
Are these ‘friends’ in your industry?
Oh, yes. Some of them are. They say one thing in my presence and go out to say another thing. I don’t want to talk about all those stuff on the pages of the newspapers. I want to let bygones be bygones. Some of the scandals came from people that know me. I don’t want anything to drag me down.
Did the scandals affect your love life then?
Oh, no! The guy I was dating at the time was extremely wonderful. Unfortunately, he died. I don’t want to dwell on how he died. Life moves on. I am still grateful that he was there for me in the first place. I know many guys wouldn’t have done what he did for me and I also have a better guy now.
Do you dress this ‘hot’ in Kano?
No. I dress responsibly. In fact, am I not looking responsible now? Anyway, in Kano, you cannot dress like I am dressed now. I wear native dresses. When I go to Kano, I behave like the responsible child that I am. I have a suitcase filled with native dresses. When I go to Kano, I wear them.
Is it not hypocrisy?
It is not. I wear native dresses here as well. I don’t wear them daily. But I make sure I dress like that every Friday.
You are a Muslim?
Yes. I am a hip-hop Muslim. I was actually born a Muslim but I still go to church. I actually finished reading the Koran, nobody should try me. My religion is in my heart. I don’t have to carry it on my face; that is hypocrisy. My beliefs are there. I am indifferent. I make my hair and I wear good clothes. I want to look good in as much as I am serving God.