The show got bigger this year. Not only did the organizers fly out to Dubai, giving the local entertainment industry much-needed international exposure, they also collaborated with a television network, ensuring a much wider audience than our local channels could ever pull off.
Indian talent, comprising professional dancers, stage designers and technical assistants, was flown in to fill the gaps, but this year’s Lux Style Awards could easily have been better executed than last year’s programme had the picture not been overexposed to the glitter and gaudiness of Bollywood. The India-based Sony TV channel, as director and producer of the show, was perhaps given too much freedom to project it as it wanted, right from the poster at the front desk down to the silver and gold tinsel on stage.
The poster had the face of Sonu Nigam surrounded by the Pakistani faces of the brand behind the awards, the girls we love. Not a visual of any of our local artists, just a small mention on the brochure. And if the Zee Cine Awards were being publicized on television a month before the event, why were these awards advertised for only a day or two? There was hardly any local press at the conference.
One didn’t expect the awards to have the pull of Bollywood, but the marketing department could have done far better than a half empty auditorium. There were too many cooks spoiling this broth, each blaming the other, and in the end the TV network brushed off all accusations, claiming the show would look good on TV. That was, after all, the reason for their involvement.
Taking the awards to Dubai was Pakistan’s chance to show the world their mettle, especially in terms of style and fashion. Within the peripheries of the efforts made by the sponsor – Tariq Amin’s stylization of all the Pakistani artists and the much needed Indian choreography and technical assistance – things were well planned. Indian assistance was needed to brush up a couple of acts, but to hand the entire show to Tarun Chopra was not wise. The show direction should have remained in our control. We saw Asim Reza doing a better live job last year.
Nevertheless, all was not lost. The awards did provide an international platform to our local talent, and the slim attendance may be a blessing in disguise. When the world sees the televised version, everything will fall into place. They will see how classy Vinnie, Tanya, ZQ and Aaminah Haq are. It will hear Fuzon’s Malhar and Strings’ Dhaani and will experience the charisma of Ali Zafar’s Channo. Their appearances made Pakistan look good, their performances spoke well and what most of them had to say did us truly proud. But besides the actual outcome, the event, which was co-ordinated by Freiha Altaf, provided a huge stage for the industry to bond and bind, something that had not been done for ages.
It’ll be interesting to see how good the event looks on international TV and how different on PTV, because that will bring on the judgement of millions of viewers. What we need to evaluate is that did stepping out to Dubai result in Pakistan stepping into the international market?
The faces of beauty
The show was divided into five segments, each depicting the different faces of beauty from different parts of the world. ‘Power’ came with a beautiful and unrecognizable Sadia Imam, followed by a strong display of the martial arts; ‘Passion’ was portrayed by Resham in the role of Mumtaz Mahal, looking gorgeous and dancing up a storm. ZQ played ‘Mystery,’ unravelling the secrets of Nefertiti. Though visually spectacular, how exactly were the performers or dances inspired by Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time video relevant? Perhaps this was just an attempt to make the presentations a bit more internationally digestible.
The costumes worn by Sadia Imam, ZQ and Resham were designed by Neeta Lulla, Indian designer of Devdas fame. It was unanimously felt that our own designers would have done a much better job. “Neeta Lulla was chosen for her theatrical expertise,” commented Simin Khan, creative director of the show, suggesting that a designer could never have the skills to do stage costumes, skills which Neeta had.
The Indian choreography and dance participation, however, was a welcome change. The dance sequences were well planned, and though people had apprehensions about the tacky costumes and choice of songs, they turned out better than anticipated. ‘Romance’ came with a flirtatious, if a little out-of-synch performance by Lollywood stars Sana, Nirma and Meera, who all refused to perform together and had to be given separate items. Nirma’s dance had a moment of awkwardness when there was no star on stage. Rumours are that Kiran was supposed to dance with her but was shoved away. The organizers had to add Fuzon’s Khamaj at the last moment, just to accommodate her. The Lollywood segment was designed by Beegee, and in all honesty, her creations matched Neeta’s.
The last segment was ‘Latino,’ bringing on a euphoria of colour and song. Aaminah Haq, who had been brought a cat-suit from India to wear, thankfully chose not to and safely stuck to a local ensemble for her performance. A lot of people felt this segment should have been the grand finale and that the Indian star appearances should have been balanced in between, not left for the end. The show ended up looking bright and vibrant, though some of the segments were a bit long, and Nadia Jamil, as hostess, was no match for last year’s Master of Ceremonies, Moin Akhter. Though she is a good actor, she was amateurish and a bit too slipshod for this position. The event demanded someone more dignified.
And the music played on
Beginning with Yeh Muamla Koi Aur Hai, a hamd by Najam Sheraz (which we’re all curious to know if Sony will air or not), Pakistan was represented by its most popular musicians. Najam, Fuzon, Ali Zafar and Strings were all given two performances each, Fuzon given a third only to accommodate Kiran. Ali Zafar, with his Huqqa Paani and ever popular Channo, had the crowd, especially the girls, going wild. Though the music was well received by the audience, the singers all felt rather let down at the end.
They had been led to believe that everyone would lip-synch and it would be a pre-recorded performance. All was well until they saw Sonu Nigam’s orchestra walk on and Sonu perform live. Needless to say, the local crooners felt cheated by this!
The winner is…
Amazingly, who would win was predicted almost perfectly. There were surprises, however, and then there were shocks too. For the Viewers’ Choice awards, Aaminah Haq stirred up the biggest controversy by winning the best actress award for Mehndi. With actors like Sania Saeed and Bushra Ansari on the list, how was this possible? people were asking. The very simple reason is that Mehndi, being aired on PTV, had the greatest amount of viewers who participated in the polls, ensuring her success.
ZQ winning the best female model was well deserved, as with Vinnie and Iraj not competing, she was the next most versatile nominee on the list. As for Daniyal Arshad winning best male model, all one can say is that one day the flow of male models will come to an abrupt end with Khawar Riaz.
Ali Zafar proved his popularity on stage and his win was no surprise, as neither was Deepak Perwani’s. One disappointing result, however, was that of best fashion photographer. Though Usman Saeed is a talented lens-man, he has not done enough photography to have won. Ather-Shahzad should have scored a hat-trick.
Viewers’ Choice Awards
Best TV serial – Mehndi
Best TV actor – Humayun Saeed (Mehndi)
Best TV actress – Aaminah Haq (Mehndi)
Best film – Larki Punjaban
Best film actor – Shaan (Commando)
Best film actress – Zara Sheikh (Laaj)
Best music album/singer – Ali Zafar
Best designer bridal wear – Faiza Samee
Best designer men’s wear – Deepak Perwani
Best designer women’s wear – Karma
Best fashion photographer – Usman Saeed
Best make-up artist – Nabila
Best model female – Zainab Qayoom
Best model male – Daniyal Arshad
Best music video director – Shoaib Mansoor (Anarkali)
Lifetime achievement award – Mohammad Ali and Zeba
Results of Lux Style Awards 2004 were audited and complied by Ferguson Associates, leading management consulting firm of Pakistan.