We were riveted as Idena Menzel belted out Frozen’s Let it go live at the Oscars. And we squirmed when a not-very-fit Salman Khan attempted a stilted Dabangg Dabangg. It is awards season worldwide and yes, we certainly have it here in Pakistan as well.
In some ways, it’s a bit like the fashion weeks with one awards ceremony following the other. At fashion weeks, we sometimes have the same designer showing the same collection in different shows. Likewise, all ceremonies have the same award categories; but then again, that’s just the way it’s done world over, not just here.
Bollywood — the benchmark that subconsciously Pakistani media aspires to be — has its own long line-up, including the IIFA, Filmfare, Stardust, Zee Cine and the saas-bahu infested Star Parivaar awards (that give you the chance to see how sane those eternally squabbling saas-bahus can look when they’re not sobbing on TV!). Needless to say, Bollywood has raised the bar when it comes to performances, now that they’ve gotten John Travolta to deliver thumkas alongside Hrithik Roshan and Kevin Spacey donning a lungi and dancing to Lungi Dance with Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor. Sadly, House of Cards will never look the same again!
Zoning in on Pakistan, now the song-and-dance usually varies, though odes to Madam Noor Jehan and Nazia Hassan tend to resurface with a hackneyed consistency. Ahsan Khan is another regular feature at the award ceremonies — one also often sees him spring into the bhangra routine every now and then in morning shows.
We’ve amassed an entire line-up of award ceremonies in the span of two years. The Lux Style Awards (LSA’s) remain the country’s oldest, most consistent and therefore, most coveted accolades. Last year, beauty brand Veet also decided to ‘celebrate beauty’ by passing out statuettes to the country’s most beautiful women. The Hum TV awards, now in their second year, are getting more fine-tuned and just a few weeks ago, another private channel also launched their first, rather grandiose film awards. The former boasted several exuberant performances, including one by Bushra Ansari and Javed Sheikh, on a medley of Gari ko Chalana and another by Shahroze Sabzwari sparking thrill among the audience with a performance on Bollywood song Malang Malang. The latter ceremony featured a post-Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi Humayun Saeed along with Mathira and Amna Ilyas shaking a leg like never before. It also saw actor Saima’s jhatkas and a performance by Babra Sharif who is a great choice for a grand finale. Both events included dances by film actor and sometimes-talk show host Noor, fledgling actor Soha Ali Abro and of course Ahsan Khan. The glitz and glamour kept the audience hooked.
Javed Sheikh and Bushra Ansari performing on Gari Ko Chalana.
Tapu Javeri’s version of the famous Oscar selfie.
From garish costumes to wooden dance moves to some happening performances, the award shows make channel ratings shoot up and they’re ideal for Eid or weekend specials. However, moving aside the tedious business of ratings and a channel’s need for self-congratulation the basic principle behind awarding the media should be to encourage young talent and create icons. Awards provide platforms for encouraging young talent and creating heroes — recognising, for instance, a slick, savvy Waar, Fawad Khan’s on-screen intense avatar and Mehreen Syed’s modeling achievements. Why has Aamina Sheikh’s fantastic performance in Lamha been ignored though? It just doesn’t make sense.
Great fashion, music, films and television is raised on to a pedestal by those shiny golden statuettes. For this very reason, awards cannot — and should not — be blatantly partial. Private channels may feel the inclination towards personal back-patting, but they can only award themselves and fool the audience for so long.
Last year’s beauty-based Veet awards, for instance, presented some rather unfathomable wins. On the other hand, several years back when the local music scene was still thriving, the Indus Music Awards set a precedent by giving credit exactly where it was due. The LSA’s — delayed this year and tentatively now scheduled for August — certainly haven’t gotten wiser by age. Among some very deserving winners, particularly in the fashion categories like Body Focus Museum for Best Luxury Pret and Sana Safinaz for Best Lawn — there were also some unfathomable ones, like Ayesha Omar winning Album of The Year for an album that has barely been seen in the market. The LSA’s need to be the benchmark that other award ceremonies aspire to rather than make blunders in their 13th year.
And in true Oscar-fashion, this award season, we’ve got a whole batch of local celebrity selfies doing the rounds on social media. It started off with Tapu Javeri clicking a star-studded selfie right after the Oscars, with Saqib Malik, Frieha Altaf, Deepak Perwani, Zehra Javeri, Wasim Akram and wife and Tapu himself all grinning toothily into the camera. It’s been followed by numerous more to the point of becoming boring.
As media and fashion snowball into larger forces and awards ceremonies become well-honed we’re getting there. We’ve also got our own special brand of entertainment where stars take digs on each other openly. The best way to raise that kind of performance is to enlist actor Shaan into a hosting role.
Maliha Rehman, is a fashion and lifestyle journalist with an obsessive, compulsive need to write. Log on for more updates on Twitter @maliharehman.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2014.
Like Life & Style on Facebook, follow @ETLifeandStyle on Twitter for the latest in fashion, gossip and entertainment.