It’s 7 pm and as I quickly slip on my high-heeled stilettos I think to myself “that’s the kind of shoe one wears at the LSA.” Big mistake. Ladies and gentlemen, I am attending the Lux Style Awards, one of the biggest events of the year, for the first time in the 15 years that it has been around. So you can imagine my excitement and nervousness as I run out of the house, wanting to make it to the event on time. I reach the venue at 8, and clearly I’m early.
8pm – 9m
We’re waiting around for people to arrive and I’m glad to see some famous faces. I see the extremely underrated Mai Dhai. I catch up with Khumariyaan, from KPK, who are nominated for ‘Best Song’. The music scene isn’t as happening in KPK, but Farhan tells me that things are picking up now. I see some celebrities. Javed Sheikh, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, is of course on time. The music industry is here on time too. I see Ali Noor and his wife Mandana. Ali Noor has made no effort to dress up. I see Shiraz Uppal as well. Talal Qureshi and Adil Omar, who have also been nominated for Best Song and Best Album, seem a bit out of place. The fashion industry is still not here, and from what I’ve been told, they will be the last ones to arrive, and first ones to leave.
9 pm – 11 pm:
My bright idea of wearing high heels has come back to haunt me. Also, KILL ME NOW, it’s been 3 hours. This is ridiculous! When will this show ever start? Turns out it’s the top tier celebs who are late; what can the management even do then? Sarwat Gillani, who has an opening appearance, is apparently stuck in traffic and some celeb’s zipper has broken thus needs a wardrobe change. I finally find a seat next to a cocktail table serving the hors d’oeuvre and stuff my face where no one can see me till the show doesn’t start. It’s hot. I use my card to fan my face.
The show is finally starting and thanks to my silver card (for media) I can see an entire row of models cooped up right in front of me: Sadaf Kanwal, Fauzia Aman, Amna Babar and a very happy looking Nomi Ansari squeezed in the midst of these glamazons. Seating is a bitch; everyone wants to be front row. I see bloggers cramming themselves in each other’s laps. I notice a reporter from a newspaper ask Amjad Sabri’s family to get off her seat. Eek!
Ali Zafar attacks the stage with his power charged performance and what an opening it is! While I’m usually skeptical of Ali Zafar as a singer nowadays, I can gladly say that he owns the stage with the song he specially wrote for the LSA2016. Everyone agrees that this is the best LSA opening ever.
Yasir Hussain takes the stage and of course makes fun of all the celebrities. He says Deepak Perwani has a huge face and I’m shocked and happy to see celebrities being good sports about this. Everyone’s laughing and taking the jokes lightly. Well, at least for the public, they’re putting on a good show. I’ve heard that most of the celebs actually hate each other and don’t say very nice things behind each other’s backs. Oh well.
TV awards are being given out, and I’m not too interested because I don’t know much about TV drama serials. But Zeb Bangash wins the Best OST award for Diyar-e-Dil and she announces that this is her first award ever. Um, excuse me? If it took the LSA 15 years to given Zeb Bangash an award, what have they been doing all these years?!
My favourite category is up next: it’s time for the music awards and Ahmed Ali Butt has taken over. Ahmed Ali Butt throws light to the fact that the music industry is the most neglected one, sadly. All these nominees have done great work but they aren’t being promoted properly. But thanks to LSAs, talents like Slowspin, who won the award for Best Emerging Music Artist, and Salman Noorani, winner of Best Music Video for ‘Mariam‘ by Mooroo, have come to the forefront.
But Ahmed Ali Butt has a strange segment called ‘Patari Mein Haath,’ where he invites celebrities on stage and makes fun of them by pulling things out of a box. For Aisha Khan, he reiterates the Jeena joke from her TV serial Mann Mayal, and brings out two dwarfs as her parents. Everyone starts laughing. I don’t understand what the joke is. This is borderline offensive and in poor taste.
Noori wins their first award ever for Best Album. I’m a little confused. Who has been winning the music awards in the last 15 years?! I have to do some research on this. And while Ali Zafar may have stolen the show with his opening performance, I’m disappointed that he also stole away the award for the Best Song, for ‘Rockstar‘. In my personal opinion, the award should have been given to Khumariyaan, or Mai Dhai, or Asrar. Encourage new faces and names, LSA.
Farhan Saeed and Urwa Hocane are dancing on stage to a medley that includes Manto’s Kya Hoga, Adil Omar’s Nighat and Paras, and Zeb Bangash’s Yaar-e-Mann. I’m glad that Pakistani music is being promoted but the performances are not that impressive. Urwa cannot dance and her chemistry with Farhan is cute for one song but isn’t enough to last all three.
LSA has provided the audience members with a gift bag, which includes energy bars, chips, Panadol and band aid. So far I’ve consumed the energy bar, and one Panadol. I’m also rummaging around other abandoned gift bags and have found my favourite Lays flavour.
Sohai is back on stage and is dancing to all these Bollywood songs and I feel betrayed for a minute. What about promoting Pakistani music? Then somebody points out that she is dancing to songs that have featured in Fawad Khan’s Bollywood movies. I guess that makes the songs Pakistani property? It would be justified if Fawad Khan was also dancing, or appearing in the performances. But all we saw of him performing was a recorded skit with Ahmed Ali Butt, dressed up as a cliched make-up artist, and that was inaudible and not that funny.
People have now started to leave the building. The minute the fashion category ends, all the models and designers and socialites stand up to leave. Which is a pity because they should have at least stayed for Amjad Sabri’s tribute, which came literally minutes after the last fashion award. If they didn’t know what was on the itinerary, then someone should have told them.
Amjad Sabri’s tribute has everyone tearing up. But I do wish they could have gotten Sabri’s qawaal group to perform the tribute themselves, and not Ali Zafar. This is turning out to be an Ali Zafar Style Awards night instead.
Please let us go home! My supplies are running out. Phone’s battery is almost finished. Shoes are off, hair has been pulled up in a ponytail. So is the case with other people who are still watching the show. At this point, everything is becoming annoying because I’m tired and hungry and cranky.
By this time, even the celebrities on stage are looking tired. They are messing up their lines (Faizan Haque calls Sohai Abro ‘Sohail Ali’) and forgetting their queues. The whole thing is looking really haphazard now.
The film segment made me happy as well as angry, because some strange awards were given out. For instance, Aisha Khan won an award for Best Supporting Actress, against Nimra Bucha in Manto. But Moor took away two awards, for Best Director and Best Film. With the way things were going, I thought JPNA would win more awards but thankfully, that did not happen. Manto didn’t win a single award for some reason.
I grab my things and get ready to leave as soon as they announce the best film award, thinking it’s finally over. As a result I end up missing Mahira’s last performance on stage, but I’m not too upset about it. Being stuck at the LSA for 8 hours was definitely the reason I look back at the entire experience with a little bit of anxiety. But the evening was so much fun, and while some awards were questionable, all in all, LSA 2016 gave recognition to all the deserving talent that has come out this past year. I’m so happy to see the film category expanding but it was saddening to see everyone commenting on the state of the music industry.
I can barely walk to my car in these shoes. Of course, I trip on the way as my heel gets stuck in the carpet covering a hole in the ground. I can’t be bothered. I just want to go home.
- Photography by Faisal Farooqui @ Dragonfly