The set up was spectacular.
10:30pm. We were very, very late in getting to the Expo Centre last night, where the 4th Servis Hum Awards were being held. The traffic outside the venue was crippling and it took us over an hour to cover a few yards of road: our honest excuse. By the time we got inside everyone had already been seated and announcements were being made for people to take their seats so the show could begin. It was 11pm.
I managed to venture out backstage where I bumped into a beautiful Reema who had swapped her Asim Jofa outfit for her favourite, HSY. Hassan of course was his usual jovial and happy self. Heâ€™s got great energy. Sarmad Khoosat, looking sharp in an Amir Adnan sherwani, gave me a quick soundbyte on Mor Mahal. I hurried back to the main show area where we were directed to the few vacant seats available. And the show began.
There were a couple of great acts lined up, of which my favourite were Atif Aslam and Bin Roye medleyÂ by Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat. Humayun isnâ€™t the best dancer but he has stage presence and with Dillagi currently airing with the two in lead roles, this onstage chemistry really worked. Moreover, they danced to the Bin Roye soundtrack, which was original and Pakistani and so much more appreciated.
Ahsan Khan is one of the best dancers in the industry and heâ€™s really got some solid moves. He was fantastic and his segment was very energetic. The downer was the selection of Bollywood songs, which isnâ€™t very exciting at a Pakistani awards show. The same problem applied to Sohai Ali Abro. She is a really good dancer but it was a) a lost cause to try and emulate Deepikaâ€™s ethereal â€˜Deewaniâ€™ from Bajirao Mastani (almost sacrilegious) and b) no one wants to hear Bollywood tracks at a Pakistani show. We get enough of the Filmfare, Stardust, Zee Cine etc award show for that. HUMÂ TV is doing such a great job in resurrecting the TV industry that it can push the mission a bit further and take music from Pakistan; we do have a very strong music industry.
And thatâ€™s where Atif Aslam came in. So many people I know were just staying on to see him perform. He did one song live and lip synced the rest (yes, a hybrid Pakistani-Indian playlist but all his own songs at least) but he drove the crowd wild with his interaction, especially when he ran into the fan-area and let them take selfies with him. Atif really knows how to work the crowd, a strength that comes from years of experience.
The Star Power
The respect that HUM TV commands ensures that the stars turn out in full force. Now that the halo extends beyond television to films, the star power was all the more sparkling. Young, old, new and experiencedâ€¦the first two rows at the event were packed with some of the best names from television including Nadeem Baig, Samina Peerzada, Hina Dilpazir, Hina Bayat to Humayun Saeed, Ayesha Khan (who was co-hosting) Mahira Khan, Sanam Saeed, Iman Ali, Saba Qamar, Sarwat Gillani, Syra Shehroze, Maya Ali, Mawra and Urwa Hocane, Osman Khalid Butt, Humaima Malick and many more. Music came in with Atif Aslam and Uzair Jaswal and fashion blew a small trumpet with Nabila, Ali Xeeshan, HSY, Nomi Ansari, Huma and Amir Adnan.
I was sitting behind Bilal Ashraf so tapped on his shoulder to ask when Yalghaar was releasing. Itâ€™s ready, he confirmed and was looking at a July 16 or August 14 date for release. Why was it so late? Hassan Rana, sitting next to him, explained how tough it was to shoot with 5000 people and thus the time it was taking. Bilal also added that three of his films were releasing this year (Yalghaar, Janaan, and another unannounced project whose name I forget).
Maya Ali, also sitting a little ahead (she was wearing Nomi Ansari and looks so much more petite in real life than how she appears in television). Are you satisfied with Mannu, your character in Mann Mayal, I asked to which she smiled and replied, â€œYes! You have to wait and seeâ€¦she may be weepy now but she wonâ€™t disappoint.â€
Iâ€™ll put up a full list of winner once it comes in and I donâ€™t watch enough television to comment on the winners of the TV awards. The HUM Awards is an internal show so obviously it only honours HUM TV productions and from the sound of it, Dayar e Dil was the serial of 2016.
The film awards were more interesting, as they went beyond HUM Films. Manto was given several recognition awards, including Best Actor and Actress to Sarmad Khoosat and Sania Saeed. Humayun Saaed was given two awards for his work in Jawani Phir Nahi Aani and Bin Roye and Mahira Khan took an award for Bin Roye as well. This industry needs to be united if it is to progress successfully and these baby steps were very welcome.
– Watch this space for the red carpet round-up, coming up next!