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25 Aug

Veet Celebrates Beauty, but keeps it skin deep

The evening's hosts, Aamina Sheikh and Azfar Rehman, who looked better than their scripts sounded.

The evening’s hosts, Aamina Sheikh and Azfar Rehman, who looked better than their scripts sounded.

Aamina Sheikh, Mehwish Hayat, Humaima Malik, Cyra Yousuf, Amna Ilyas, Saima Azhar, Mahnoor Baloch and several other fashion and television starlets were flaunted at the seventh Veet Celebration of Beauty held at the Expo Centre in Karachi last night. Needless to say, the event was quite easy on the eyes.

Mahwish Hayat opened the VINTAGE segment with a performance set to an adaptation of Nur Jehan's 'Mehki Fizain'.

Mahwish Hayat opened the VINTAGE segment with a performance set to an adaptation of Nur Jehan’s ‘Mehki Fizain’.

The look and feel of the event was elegant and impressive. The lounge, upon entrance, had a chic pink ambience and a clean, uncluttered red carpet. Even the stage was aesthetically appealing and looked very dignified. Barring the two hour delay in starting, VCB2013 looked very good right up to the opening act, which featured illuminated dancers. Don’t get me wrong, there is no bit BUT here. VCB2013 looked great upto the opening act but continued to be a nice show throughout.

Zoe Viccaji paid to Nazia Hassan in RETRO.

Zoe Viccaji paid to Nazia Hassan in RETRO.

Ali Azmat

Ali Azmat completely overshadowed Ali Xeeshan’s fashion segment. The rock star still has energy worth a couple of hundred volts and was impactful despite the front row being quite static.

Does anyone remember the Veet Celebration of Beauty that year when an Adam and Eve tableau was centre of theatrics and Eve pranced around the stage only after Adam gifted her a giant tube of Veet Hair Removing cream to confidently carry off her leafy dress. I think that was the second year and five years later, the show certainly has improved by leaps and bounds. Of course – and an acknowledgement was in order – the show evolved with Frieha Altaf as producer for the last five years. She helped create the Veet Supermodel Contest and the Fashion/Music platform that it is known for today.

Illuminated dancers made for quite a thrilling opening segment.

Illuminated dancers made for quite a thrilling opening segment.

This year it came of age with ARY Productions, that did a reasonably good job for a small-scale event, although technical deficiencies were apparent to those of us who have experienced grander similar events at the Lux Style Awards, Fashion Weeks and/or India’s FimFares. Again, this was a fraction of the scale, smaller, milder and much more compact. Nabila styled the look of the show and not only did the red carpet look neat but the models and artistes all had impeccable hair and makeup. The stage costumes, however, were a strange concoction of hybrid filmy. I do wish they had been more beautiful than blingy.

It has to be said that as an initiative, this has always been a good idea, as VCB has offered an uncomplicated platform for celebrating beauty in Pakistan and launching a new pool of fashion models each year. Saima Azhar, who won Most Promising Beauty this year, was in fact launched as a Veet girl at the Supermodel Contest. It’s good to see an event get as close to a beauty pageant as possible, offering respite from the claustrophobic and hypocritical climate we have to endure most of the time.

Sara Loren cannot dance but she pranced around for the finale act.

Sara Loren cannot dance but she pranced around for the finale act.

That said, there was no additional value to the program. No wow moments or landmarks that can go down as Veet Victory Moments. Mehwish Hayat did a good job with her performance but we’ve seen tributes to Noor Jehan umpteen times before. Ali Azmat, Pakistan’s one and only true rocker, made a delightful comeback to stage but it was all too reminiscent of Ali Azmat’s LSA performance to Nomi Ansari’s red collection at this very venue in 2006. While the scale of that show was larger than life, this one was very humdrum. Similarly, Zoe Viccaji is a fantastic vocalist but the tribute paid to Nazia Hassan at the LSAs (again in 2006) set the standard very high.

The first award was presented by Man of the Moment, Shahid Afridi...err, Humayun Saeed and Mahnoor Baloch.

The first award was presented by Man of the Moment, Shahid Afridi…err, Humayun Saeed and Mahnoor Baloch.

There’s no harm in humble beginnings but seven years is hardly nascent and by now VCB should have made some kind of hoopla in originality. If we talk about Beauty Awards being their lynchpin then these awards need to be more transparent and honestly, more credible. How could Mahira Khan, for example, not be awarded a single Beauty Award? And even the categories were strange…Best Posture is not the most needed and Most Photogenic not exactly the most original.

It would have been better appreciated had VCB offered some out of box originality … celebrate women who have offered and earned literary or intellectual stardom (Shirmeen Obaid Chinoy), those who have kept television alive (Bushra Ansari, Samina Peerazada, Saira Kamzi). Celebrate liberal artistes like Nida Butt and Joshinder who manage to make song and dance look good without looking B-grade filmy. And if you really want to make a difference then recognize women like Bilquis Edhi, who have made social service their life. VCB can be celebrating women and the beauty they bring to society instead of keeping it superficially limited to fashion models and glamorous looking film stars.

I feel that to be different and to be relevant, VCB needs to hold a mirror to beautiful women who have actually achieved something beyond superficial, beyond skin deep.

Photograpy by Faisal Farooqui @ Dragonfly

Reviews of the fashion segments to follow…

The Haute Team

This article is written by one of our competent team members, who probably didn't have enough to say to own up to it.