Top 10 Nigerian Hausa Movies You Need To Watch

The Hausa movie industry is also known as Kannywood in Nigeria. It traces its way to as far back as the early 1960s in Kaduna. The industry has continued to grow over the years with the population of viewers rising especially in the Northern part of Nigeria where Hausa is the major language.

Surprisingly, Nigerian Hausa movies has reached the shores of different African countries where the Hausa language is spoken. As a result, the industry has had collaborations with Nollywood and have some of its actors like Ali Nuhu, Sani Danja, and Rahama Sadau become major actors in Nollywood. For its popularity, acceptance, and wealth it generates in recent times, there is a quest to know which Hausa movie is the best.

The best Hausa movies cut across different genres such as romance, comedy, action, and crime among others. While others such as Shehu Umar (1976) and Kasarmu Ce (This Is Our Land, 1991) are labeled the greatest of all time; others have successfully come along the line to reach the height of the best. Although many of the Hausa movies may claim the position of best in their own right, there are criteria we’ll use here to select the best. Some of which include the following:

  • Popularity
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Box Office grossing

Top 10 Interesting Nigerian Hausa Movies

1. The Milkmaid (Yar Nono)

  • Release Date: November 27, 2020
  • Genre: Drama
  • Producer: Desmond Ovbiagele
  • Director: Desmond Ovbiagele
  • Cast: Anthonieta Kalunta, Maryam Booth, Gambo Usman Kona, Patience Okpala, Ibrahim Jammal

Insurgency has swept towns and villages in Northern Nigeria and has left more than 2.5 million homeless with many children out of school. The extremism of some sects in the region has been portrayed in The Milkmaid and the effect of terrorism on women, especially. Also, in this Hausa film, a young milkmaid works the path of searching for her lost sister. But then, her search becomes complicated with each step taken.

As a result of the acceptance of the movie, it has been given a 6.8/10 rating by IMDB and has been given recognitions such as:

  • Selected for entry at the 93rd Academy Awards (Oscars) for Best International Feature Film (2021).
  • Won 6 of 8 nominations at the 16th African Movie Academy Awards for Best Film; Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Maryam Booth), Achievement in Makeup, Best Film in an African Language, Best Nigerian Film (2020).
  • Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles for Narrative Feature Award (2021).
  • 14x nominations at the Best of Nollywood Awards

2. Voiceless (Mara Murya)

  • Release Date: 18 November 2020
  • Genre: thriller
  • Producer: Rogers Ofime
  • Director: Robert Peters
  • Cast: Asabe Madaki, Yakubu Mohammed, Uzee Usman, Rekiya Ibrahim Atta

Although its title may suggest that it is an English film, it is a Hausa film that tells the captivating and emotional story of how life can be in Northern Nigeria. Through the movie, the story of Salma (Asabe Madaki ) alongside Goni (Adam Garba) is told. The pair were kidnapped by terrorists led by Banza (Uzee Usman) in their community. Fate however turned their sour, hard situation that started in violence to become a tale of love.

Voiceless is one of Nigeria’s biggest movies. It features on Netflix and has numerous awards and nominations that include Director of the Year (Robert Peters), Movie of the Year, Movie with the Best Cinematography, Movie with the Best Production Design, Best Hausa Actor, and Best Actress in a Leading Role at 2021 Best of Nollywood Awards. In addition, it made an estimated $2,000,000 at the Box Office with multiple positive reviews.

3. Jalil

  • Release Date: March 22, 2020 (United States)
  • Genre: Drama/Thriller
  • Producer: Leslie Dapwatda, Veronica Davis, Kelly D. Lenka
  • Director: Leslie Dapwatda
  • Cast: Sadisu Abba, Ibrahim Aburafiqa, Isaac Benjamin, Maryam Booth

Jalil is an Arabic name that means great, exalted, or magnificent. In the Hausa film of the same title, a child Jalil whose parents Zarah (Maryam Booth) and Yusuf hoped for greatness in him. However, things turned the other way when he became weighed down by the challenges of a hole in his heart. Along the line, the parents found themselves in a twist to choose whether to save the life of their dying son or to choose the life of his grandmother.

The film, which was shot in Jos and produced by Noless Studios, was released in 2020 in the United States. It has received praises for taking a fresh turn among many Nigerian Hausa movies. In addition, it had a Box Office budget of an estimated $25,000.

4. Mati a Zazzau 

  • Release Date: February 7, 2020
  • Genre: Drama
  • Producer: Rahama Sadau & Sadiq Sani Sadiq
  • Director: Yaseen Auwal
  • Cast: Sadiq Sani Sadiq, Tahir I. Tahir, Adam A. Zango, Rabi’u Rikadawa, Rahama Sadau, Hadiza Blell (Di’Ja), Umar Gombe.

Mati a Zazzau which translates to Mati in Zazzau (Zaria) is more of a sequel to Wani Gari and Mati da Lado.  In the film, Mati a Zazzau which became a major blockbuster, Mati (Sadiq Sani Sadiq) fled a village called Rimau after duping people. Upon reaching Zazzau (Zaria), he realized that his late father had left him wealth which he started to make effort to gain. In the same vein, other eyes were fixed on the treasures, including those of the village head.

The film is also a debut film of Nigerian singer and songwriter Di’ja (Hadiza Blell) who is famous for songs like Yaro (2014), Awww (2014), and My Baby among others. In the film, she played the role of Madina.

5. Fanan

  • Release Date: 2019
  • Genre: Drama
  • Producer: Mansurah Isah
  • Director: Sheikh Isa Alolo
  • Cast: Yakubu Muhammad, Sani Danja, Iman Sani Danja, Sabeera, Rahama M.K, Khalifa Sani Danja,

The film premiered on October 29, 2021, in Kano and became the first Hausa movie to gross an estimated ₦1.25 million on its opening day. On its 3rd day, it reportedly generated ₦9.2 million. Although the movie has been criticized for having a regular story in Kannywood, it received several positive reviews and was named the Kannywood Movie of the Year 2021 at the 360 Hausa Recognition Award.

The film centers on a family with a good and obedient wife. However, her husband Kamilu (Yakubu Muhammad) later started to cheat on her with Madam Jessica (Rahama M.K). This would lead to ill-treating of his wife. Madam Jessica would later fail to meet the promises she made, while his ex-wife Fanan (Sabeera) found love and became married to Alhaji Sammani (Sani Danja). Kamilu turned to restore his marriage with Fanan but it became too late.

6. Juyin Sarauta (The Royal Ascendance)

  • Release Date: December 3, 2017
  • Genre: Drama
  • Producer: Balarabat Ramat Yakubu, Ado Ahmad Gidab Dabino Mon
  • Director: Falalu A. Dorayi
  • Cast: Ado Ahmad Gidab Dabino MON, Tijjani Asase, Alassan Kwalle, Hauwa Ahmad

One of many Nigerian Hausa movies that stand among the best is Juyin Sarauta. It is a film that is aimed at bringing to light the participation of women in power creation in northern Nigeria where culture and religion override some of their rights.

In the film, Sarki Yusufu (Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino MON), an emir of Jadarwa, reached his end in death. As such, a new emir is to emerge. However, the many wives, concubines, and slaves had their eyes on the throne which led to jealousy, murder, and rituals among them. In a twist, a less privileged among them would later won the seat and crown as Emir.

The film received considerable funding from Project Act Nollywood and a budget of ₦28,480,540 was raised. After its release, the film won an award for Best Film in Nigerian Language Award by Zuma Festival (2017), and also had a nomination for Best Actor (Ado Dabino).

See also  List of Oldest Yoruba Movies of the 1980s and 90s

7. Tsakanin Mu (Between Us)

  • Release Date: 2020
  • Genre: Drama/Romance
  • Producer: Abubakar Bashir Maishadda
  • Director: Ali Nuhu
  • Cast: Umar M Shareef, Maryam Yahaya, Ali Nuhu, Nura Hussaini, Yakubu Muhammad

Within 2 weeks of its release, Tsakaninmu which translates to Between Us generated ₦3.2 million. The film remains one of the highest-grossing Hausa movies of 2020. Tsakaninmu is about the love life of Fahad (Umar M. Sharif), the son of a wealthy businessman Alhaji Rabi’u (Nura Hussain) who fell in love with a poor lady Nafisa (Maryam Yahaya). However, to fulfill his father’s wish, he settled to become married to Rumaisa (Maryam Booth), the daughter of Professor Tahir (Ali Nuhu). In the long run, the marriage failed, solely because her lifestyle was away from the traditions. This led to a divorce that ended up sending him back to the arms of Nafisa who was traditional as well as religious.

8. Hauwa Kulu

  • Release Date: 2019
  • Genre: Drama
  • Producer: Abubakar Bashir Maishadda
  • Director: Ali Nuhu
  • Cast: Ali Nuhu, Abba El-Mustapha, Baballe Hayatu, Hassana Muhammad, Hadiza Gabon, Hajara Usman

Hauwa Kulu is both the name of a character (Hassana Muhammed as young Hauwa and Hadiza Gabon as older Hauwa) and the title of the film. The movie gives an insight into the issue of rape, the aftermath on its victims as well as how justice is denied and in some cases served. Hauwa Kulu in the film found herself raped by her village head – a tragedy that would lead to the death of her blind father. It also left her with a vesicovaginal fistula (involuntary urination).

Following the death of her mother, Hauwa was adopted by Dr. Hajiya (Hajara Usman) who sent her to school. The young girl later became a lawyer and married Hajiya’s son. Years later, Hauwa became a judge and a rape case was brought before her. Unfortunately, the rapist turned out to be her only son and she was left with the option of saving her child or sending him to jail. As a result, the film was able to get many positive reviews and made about ₦3.5 million from the Box Office.

9. Karki Manta Dani (Do Not Forget Me)

  • Release Date: 4 June 2019
  • Genre: Drama/Romance
  • Producer: Naziru Danhajiya
  • Director: Ali Nuhu
  • Cast: Maryam Booth, Ali Nuhu, Shamsu Dan’iya, Umar M. Sharif

This is another high-grossing Nigerian Hausa movie. Karki Manta Dani reportedly grossed over ₦3.4 million within the first 2 weeks of its release. The theme of love is central to the story where Nasir (Shamsu Dan’iya) and Fatima (Maryam Booth) find themselves in love. However, their love was tested by the financial constraints of Nasir which pushed Fatima into the arms of another man for marriage. Heartbreak led Nasir to drugs. When Abdul (Ali Nuhu) found out that his relative had begun taking drugs to take his mind off his love, he sent him to rehab and later to school. At the university, Nasir reunited with Fatima whose marriage to a wealthy man failed.

10. Bana Bakwai (Seven Children)

  • Release Date: 25 December 2020
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Producer: Abubakar Bashir Maishadda, Nafiz Asnanic
  • Director: Ali Nuhu
  • Cast: Saddiq Sani Saddiq, Nafisa Abdullahi, Lawan Ahmad, Abdul M Shareef, Ramadan Booth

Famous as King of Kannywood, Ali Nuhu directed a film that is away from his famous niche – love. The story projects a typical Nigerian society where youths get involved in thuggery. The police force and politicians serve injustice and may be contributors to the menace of a typical Nigerian setting. The film would go on to generate millions at the Box Office only within a few weeks of its release.

Summary of The 10 Best Nigerian Hausa Movies

  1. The Milkmaid (Yar Nono, 2020)
  2. Voiceless (Mara Murya, 2020)
  3. Jalil (2020)
  4. Mati a Zazzau (2020)
  5. Fanan (2019)
  6. Juyin Sarauta (The Royal Ascendance, 2017)
  7. Tsakanin Mu (Between Us, 2020)
  8. Hauwa Kulu  (2019)
  9. Karki Manta Dani (Do Not Forget Me, 2019)
  10. Bana Bakwai (2020)

What is the History of Hausa Movies?

The history of Hausa movies could be traced to the 1940 when the British Film corporation which had its base in Ghana produced the first Hausa drama titled Baban Larai. In 1987, the first Hausa novel Ruwan Bagaja by Abubakar Imam was dramatized. However, the Hausa language cinema slowly began to evolve from the productions of RTV Kaduna and Radio Kaduna in the 1960s with veterans like Dalhatu Bawa and Kasimu Yero pioneering drama productions that became popular with the Northern audience.

From the early 90, hausa movies began to sread wider as a larger Northern audience began to find find Bollywood movies attractive. Leveraging on the new spread, Kannywood; a cinematic synthesis of Indian and Hausa culture evolved and became extremely popular with films like Turmin Danya (“The Draw”), 1990, being cited as the first commercially successful Kannywood film. By 2012, over 2000 film companies were registered with the Kano State Filmmakers Association, giving room for more Hausa movies to be produced.

Which Site Can I Download Hausa Films for Free?

There are various online platforms where you can download Hausa films for free. The websites to download free Yoruba movies include YouTube which contains a wide
collection of Hausa old and latest Hausa films. Other online platforms to download Hausa films for free include Hausa films TV, Kannyflix, and The Netnaija.

Where Can I Watch Free Hausa Movies Online?

YouTube is the best online platform where you can watch old and latest Hausa movies online for free. Streaming sites like Hausa films TV, Nollywoodbest, and Kannyflix are some of the best free websites to watch Nigerian Hausa movies online.

What are the Popular Hausa Movies to Watch? 

The Hausa movie ‘Izzar So’ is currently the most popular Hausa movie to watch. The Kannywood love-themed drama series streams on YouTube and has become a household name in northern Nigeria and beyond. It is hosted on Bakori TV YouTube channel, which boasts over 953,000 subscribers.

Izza So, is produced and directed by the acclaimed Kannywood filmmaker and actor, Ahmad Lawan with Kannywood stars like Ali Nuhu, Aisha Najamu and Nana Izzar So featuring in it. Others on the list of most popular hausa Movies to watch include Hauwa Kulu (2019), Tsakaninmu (2021) and Kawaye (2019).

What are Some Popular Hausa Movies on Netflix?

The Hausa TV series The Plan and Amina (2021) are two of the most popular Hausa movies to watch on Netflix. While the former is a Limited Series which portrays the culture of northern Nigeria, the latter is based on the story of the life of 16th-century Zazzau empire warrior Queen Amina. The Series which was released in February 2023, is the first Hausa movie on Netflix where all the executive producers are from the north. Both movies star one of Kannywood’s veterans Ali Nuhu and other Hausa actors like Magaji Mijinyawa, Rahaman Sadau and Sefyna Mohammed.


What is the First Hausa Film in Nigeria?

“Baban Larai” is the first Hausa-speaking film produced in Nigeria. The film which depicts how a bride is conveyed to her matrimonial home back in the days, was produced in the 1940s and it stars actors like Abdullahi Abubakar Song alias, Baban Larai, who died in 2015.

What is Hausa Movie Industry Called?

The Hausa movie industry is called Kannywood. The name was coined in the late 1990s, by Sunusi Shehu Daneji of Tauraruwa Magazine and it became the popular reference term for the industry in Northern Nigeria.

Who Are the Famous Hausa Actors and Actresses?

Famous Hausa actors and actresses include Ali Nuhu, Rahama Sadau, Jamila Umar Nagudu, Adam A. Zango, Yakubu Mohammed, Hadiza Gabon, Fatima Washa Abdullahi, and Muhammadu Rabi’u Rikadawa


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