Lux Style Awards: A mixed bag of grandeur and goreArchive
In many ways, the show succeeded and the credit goes to the triad that has formed the LSA’s backbone throughout its journey; Fareshteh Aslam as the awards manager, Frieha Altaf as the show producer and director and Nabila Maqsood playing image consultant. It was a show that placed the spotlight firmly on entertainment’s Generation Next instead of reverting to hackneyed nostalgic tributes; it celebrated the best of Lollywood, the modern-day revival of cinema, the finest in fashion and the nascent music industry struggling to rise above the ashes; it honoured legends and modern-day rockstars and dealt out hilarious spurts of comedy.
Sadly, it was also a show that dragged on simply because it began at the unearthly hour of nearly 11pm. Already late in the year (for an award show giving accolades for the previous year) and late to start, the LSAs desperately need to address this habitual tardiness. Had the show started early, it could have regaled an enthusiastic audience. Instead, by the time it ended at almost 3am only a smattering of the earlier audience was still sitting, bleary-eyed — the rest had slunk out at some time or the other.
All this, of course, won’t be evident when it airs on TV but one wonders if the show will be able to rivet audience the way it used to in earlier years. The show had its many highs but it also plummeted to some desultory lows ….
Red carpet versus the riff-raff
This was glamour’s night out and media cameras had a field day as they whirred away. The LSA Red Carpet razzled and dazzled with celebrities. The stalwarts came — Nadeem Baig, Syed Noor, Saba Hamid, Rubina Ashraf, Behroze Sabzwari and Bushra Ansari, to name a few — and so did today’s stars; models, designers, musicians and the TV and film fraternity. There were so many fashion highs: host Mahira Khan looked like a princess in a sky-blue Georges Hobeika dress; Syra Shehroze carried off a velvet Sania Maskatiya gown, Urwa Hocane stood out in a vivacious Sana Safinaz design and amongst the men, Ali Zafar and Fawad Khan suited up very well.
As the red carpet continued for nearly two hours, though, unfathomable crowds of riff-raff filtered onto the venue. Who were these people and how did they manage to get hold of the supposedly ‘exclusive’ invites? These jostling crowds and their ardent love for red carpet selfies wore off the high fashion veneer considerably.
The hosts with the most?
As advertised rampantly on umpteen billboards, Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan played host and just the Humsafar couple being placed together after many years is bound to make air-time ratings soar. The two drove on stage in a shiny red convertible and looked great. Beyond this, though, they were hardly the hosts with the most.
Both actors looked visibly self-conscious, spoke stiltedly and made quite a few fumbles. Fawad often veered towards the brash while Mahira just seemed uncomfortable. There was none of the easy repartee that one saw Vasay Chaudhry and Ahmed Ali Butt share just a few months ago as hosts of the Hum TV awards.
Perhaps a script better tailored to Fawad and Mahira’s personalities would have boded well? Or perhaps they should have practiced more? Then again, not all well-loved popular actors are just as successful playing hosts.
Comedy’s night out
The show belonged, instead, to Yasir Hussain who made appearances in short comic spurts throughout the show. From poking fun at recently released movies and asking Karachi Se Lahore director Wajahat Rauf if he had been making a shaadi video having cast himself, his wife and son in his movie to roasting actor Hamza Ali Abbasi for his moral tirades on Facebook by telling him ‘Mein toh Fb pe hoon hi nahin, dil mein kuch na rakhein, sub status mein likh dein’ to joking about Adnan Malik’s acting skills, Annie’s lack of singing talent and Fakhir’s predilection for make-up, Yasir had the audience in rollicks.
Having launched with thespian group Kopykat Productions, Yasir certainly knows how to work the spotlight. The celebrities he joked about were mostly sitting right there in the audience and they all took the jibes in good humour … or perhaps they simply had no choice!
Ali Zafar overdose
The most memorable performance of the evening was undoubtedly by Ali Zafar who slung on an embellished jacket and channeled all his charisma and considerable chutzpah into his Rockstar avatar. Ali is a star who is here to stay and from his performance to his on-stage conversations with Fawad, he was an absolute pro.
On the downside, the song sequence dedicated to Ali’s previous hits (performed by Jimmy Khan, Uzair Jaswal, Farhan Saeed and Sara Haider) followed by a mundane on-stage interview was a bit too much. We love Ali but the overdose was hardly entertaining.
Performances to remember … and then some
One after the other, the LSAs dealt out some spectacular performances. Amna Ilyas was an on-stage siren, dancing to her Kala Doriya from Dekh Magar Pyaar Say; Ahmed Ali Butt was at his most entertaining dancing to the Jawani Phir Nahi Ani song and Moammar Rana and Resham presented a well-choreographed nostalgic sojourn into yesteryear Lollywood. Less impressive were Ayesha Omar who looked pretty but ineffectual in her Tutti Frutti song and Urwa Hocane who fell during her performance to a song from Na Maloom Afraad.
Rahat Fateh Ali’s awe-inspiring vocals made for a befitting, mesmeric finale. It was a pity that by the time the singer came on stage what was left of the audience was yawning. Coveted by India and recognised the world over, it’s hardly the kind of reception a legendary singer like Rahat deserves!
In contrast, the opening act, Tajdar-i-Haram by Amjad Sabri was lackluster. While some qawwali lovers may appreciate Sabri’s prowess, the performance lacked energy.
‘And the award goes to…’
Faa-tu-grapher Tapu Javeri and Meera announced the winner for Best Fashion Photographer, bringing to memory the rollicking YouTube video of the two that had gone viral a few years ago.
Shehla Chatoor and Khadijah Shah was another interesting pair, both rival designers being hot society favourites in Karachi and Lahore, respectively.
Hamza Ali Abbasi was invited to award the Best Female Moral, which was then wittily corrected to be Best Female Model and when Vasay Chaudhry and Ahmed Ali Butt awarded Best TV Actor to Hamza Ali Abbasi for Pyare Afzal, they quipped, ‘Award aa nahin raha, award aa gaya hai!’ in reference to Hamza’s political affiliations.
One-liners and some very interesting pairs of celebrities … these were quintessential LSA strokes of genius.
Sana Safinaz sweep the fashion awards
The TV award results held no surprises. With both Geo and the Hum Network having withdrawn from the nominations, all accolades inevitably had to be meted out to ARY Digital’s Pyare Afzal. Similarly, the wins in the ‘film’ category were bound to be dominated by last year’s Na Maloom Afraad, its only other contenders being the much less commercial Dukhtar and the not-very-successful Operation 021. The music categories highlighted the growing underground music scene and brought to the forefront one of the most promising young stars to have recently entered the field, Sara Haider, who won Best Emerging Talent (Music).
However, the fashion awards were possibly the most anticipated, boasting an impressive list of nominees. Nomi Ansari’s technicolor dreams justifiably won the award for Best Fashion Design (Bridal) and NFK Photography deserved the Best Fashion Photography trophy for their creative shoots. Ismail Farid was awarded for Achievement in Fashion Design (Menswear) and Nabila, predictably, ruled the Best Hair and Make-up category for the ninth time in a row.
The lion’s share of the awards was taken by Sana Safinaz who were awarded for Achievement in Lawn, Pret and Luxury-pret. It had the designer duo’s considerable fans cheering but it also raised eyebrows. Sana Safinaz are indisputable authorities on designer lawn but wasn’t Elan lawn a much more popular choice last year? And while they may have made inroads into prêt, was their luxury-pret better than that of other nominees, such as Shehla Chatoor with her huge hit Misaki?
Should they have won or shouldn’t they? After all, it’s the post-event banter that always makes the LSAs all the more interesting!
Memorable acceptance speeches
Best Male Model winner Shahzad Noor came on stage and hilariously stated, “Thank you Hum Awards!” His counterpart in the Best Female Model category, Amna Ilyas, was much more eloquent. “When I started out, there were people who would just keep saying ‘Yeh to itni kaali hai’. This award is for all dark-skinned girls!” she declared, in the most memorable acceptance speech of the evening.
While this year’s musical tribute was incomprehensibly dedicated to Ali Zafar, instead of to a local legend, the Lifetime Achievement accolades made better sense. Syed Noor, when awarded the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award by Nadeem Baig, spoke of adapting his experience and expertise to work with new-age filmmakers and join them in the revival of local cinema.
Masarrat Misbah, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award in fashion, promised to continue expanding her conglomerate of salons while simultaneously helping acid-burn victims through her philanthropic foundation ‘Smileagain’.
All that English Vinglish!
Most perplexing throughout the show was how hosts and winners often began conversing in thorough English. English may understandably fall into the comfort zone of LSAs select attendees but its frequent usage may just ironically alienate a large segment of the show’s Urdu-speaking target audience. Perhaps the organisers need to set strict ground-rules for the language being spoken on-stage. The LSAs have belovedly always been for Pakistan and about Pakistan … they need to be in Pakistan’s mother-tongue.
Finally, the LSAs continue to be the only award-giving authority in the country that is not affiliated with a network of channels, thereby establishing it as an impartial platform. For always encouraging new talent and honouring the old, for giving rise to some of the hottest debates in town, for entertaining us for more than a decade, for doling out memorable on-stage moments; and it is for all these reasons and more that we love the LSAs.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, October 11th, 2015
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