The Lux Style Awards kicked off last night with an attempt to capture the glitz and glamour the show is known for.
It wasn’t going to be an easy feat, and for good reason. The Lux Style Awards have been hotly criticised this year for the show’s stance on sexual harassment.
When the LSA’s nominations were announced, many stars dropped out of the running, saying they did not want to share a platform with an industry figure accused of sexual harassment. Ali Zafar, who was accused of harassment last year by Meesha Shafi, was nominated for ‘Best Actor’ for his role in Teefa in Trouble.
Nevertheless, no changes were made to the awards lineup, and in a statement signed ‘The Film Jury, Lux Style Awards 2019’, the LSA’s film jury stated that the jury decision was entirely independent from both the LSA management and Unilever Pakistan, which sponsors the event.
Many within the industry were not impressed by the LSAs decisions, with veteran designers like Maheen Khan and major industry players like Jami Mahmood expressing their disappointment.
But you know what remained the same, apart from the event starting much later than usual? LSA’s attempts to have an extravaganza full of fun performances, lovely tributes and some surprises. Yeah, we’re talking Yasir Hussain proposing to Iqra Aziz on live television.
While the show had some notable moments, it had its fair share of setbacks as well. Here are a few.
Best: The stars who rejected their nominations to stand against sexual harassment maintained their stance
Why was the red carpet not as hustling and bustling as usual? Because of the notable absence of the many stars who rejected their nominations as they didn’t want to share a platform with alleged harassers.
Also read: A timeline of every celebrity reaction to the LSA nomination controversy
Earlier this year, after the Lux Style Awards’ nominations were announced, several nominees opted out of the awards. Model Eman Suleman took the first step, saying: “I was extremely honoured to be nominated for the Lux Style Awards… [But] I do not wish to be part of an accolade that is shared with an alleged harasser. I feel no joy. Maybe give the nomination to someone who feels happy about it. I don’t. I am basically done.”
She was followed by model Rubab Ali, clothing brand Generation, make up artists Saima Bargfrede and Fatima Nasir, and folk band The Sketches. Musician Meesha Shafi and her brother, Faris Shafi also rejected their nominations for ‘Best Song.’
And that’s something to admire. The entertainment industry is often clubbish and insular and wants to protect their own instead of standing up to the powerful. To see members of the entertainment industry take an important stance and stick by it is the kind of move we need to see more of and hopefully this won’t be the end of it.
Worst: The Lux Style Awards ignored last year’s #MeinBhi theme and sexual harassment barely got a mention
Considering how show director Frieha Altaf has said she’s a staunch supporter of the #MeToo movement – to the point that she created the localised #MeinBhi movement for last year’s awards – it was surprising to see the lack of any social message at this year’s LSA.
Frieha had earlier spoken of how #LSA2019 will reflect the values she upholds but we saw nothing of the sort as the only conversation around the topic of harassment came from the cast and crew of Dar Si Jati Hai Sila when they accepted an award.
Writer Bee Gul spoke of the importance of having a conversation around harassment so that survivors will feel encouraged to open up about their traumas while director Kashif Nisar mentioned having two daughters and wanting them and all women to feel safe.
But when it came to the LSAs scripted dialogues, there was silence. Was the team behind the award show so concerned with further controversy that they chose to shy away from a topic rampantly being discussed within the industry?
For a prestigious awards show to so completely ignore such a divisive and urgent issue plaguing the entertainment industry felt off-key, disingenuous even.
Best: Lyari based female rapper kicked off the show
Eva B is the first female rapper to come out of Lyari. Because of her family, she performs under an alias.
She made her mark with track ‘Gully Girls’ and looks like Momina Mustehsan is a fan. The two collaborated together for a track which became the opening performance for the LSAs. And let’s just say, she set the bar real high for the rest of the night!
Worst: Uzma Khan announced the winner for best actor before the nominations
Imagine waiting for the host to say “And here are the nominees for best OST” but instead just hearing “Feroze Khan.”
Duo Uzma Khan and Ahmed Ali Butt came in to announce the winners in the TV category but Uzma got the wrong card and instead of announcing the nominees for best OST, the actor ended up announce the winner for best actor. FYI, Feroze Khan.
The audience laughed along with the hosts when they realised their blunder and Ahmed Ali Butt did his best to make the most of a silly situation. Sure, Feroze Khan was a great sport about it too but we feel bad he didn’t get to savour and enjoy his big moment.
Best: Feroze Khan dedicated his award to Qavi Khan
Feroze Khan was up against veteran Qavi Khan in the category for Best TV actor. While he may have nabbed the award, he made sure to show respect to the icon and make it known that Qavi Khan deserves more than accolades, he also deserves respect and admiration.
For Feroze to bring Qavi Khan to the stage for his award acceptance speech and to shift the spotlight to him at such a big moment is something that wins our respect.
Worst: The cringe-y humour
Hina Dilpazeer had a comedy segment but she couldn’t get the amount of laughs we know she is capable of.
She came in dressed in a silly outfit, complete with a cheap pink wig, and joked about being a model and designer. The fact that we laughed – just a bit – at her clothes and not her punchlines says a lot more about the segment than anything else.
Apart from the fun segment with Saba Qamar and Yasir Hussain (we’re as surprised as you), the performers on stage could barely get a chuckle out of us. Their punchlines fell flat and we just wanted it all to be over with.
The show did play it too safe this year and the efforts to not make any more controversial headlines was evident. It just has us wondering if our stars don’t know how be funny without controversy. Considering Sarmad Khoosat was writing the script for the award, this one was an unpleasant surprise.
Best: Yasir Hussain said nothing problematic
Every time Yasir Hussain appeared on stage, we’d brace ourselves for the worst.
From award shows to his own Insta stories, Hussain has become known for problematic speech and his very nonchalant attitude towards those statements. So when he didn’t say a single problematic point, we were stunned. Can people really truly learn?
Yasir’s segment with Saba was one of the better ones of the night and despite them lightly roasting each film that came out last year, nothing was offensive or bothersome. Go progress!
Worst: Syed Shafaat Ali’s problematic jokes on Gohar Rasheed and Ahmed Ali Butt
Well just when we thought the LSAs were playing safe enough to avoid any controversial subject, comedian Syed Shafaat’s segment with Ali Safina proved us wrong.
Joking about Lux, Shafaat poked humour at Gohar Rasheed and Ahmed Ali Butt based on their appearances and in 2019 we’re just rolling our eyes.
Saying Gohar Rasheed has been using Lux for days and “yeh tou ab boht saaf hai,” or that Ahmed Ali Butt has been using it for days but there’s a lot to cover as annoying as it is lazy. Seriously, can our hosts not be funny without being derogatory?
Best: Everything about Meera was great
Meera made a grand comeback with Baaji and it looks like she’s not done reminding everyone of the icon that she is.
After many years, Meera gave a performance at an award show and not only did she knock it right outta the park but her joy and excitement had us all smiling along with her while we overheard many scream “Queen!”
Also the star playfully clapped back at Ahmed Ali Butt’s joke “Meera hum sab ki baaji ban gayi” saying “I’m proud to be everyone’s baaji,” and reminding everyone “love me or hate me, you can never replace me.”
We really can’t, Meera Jee, and wouldn’t dream of it.
Worst: They almost forgot Singer of the Year
History repeated itself an hour after LSA’s first blunder as Momina Mustehsan announced the song of the year when we were all expecting singer of the year. Bet Uzma Khan didn’t feel too awkward later.
Mustehsan decided to go ahead and wrap up song of the year and continue with the other awards, but singer of the year was almost forgotten.
It took 40 minutes for them to realise this mistake and Bushra Ansari came in to let Mohsin Abbas Haider and Sohail Haider have their moment.
Unfortunately, such blunders were happening all too frequently and the event overall was too mismanaged. Hosts missed their ques, took too long to come on stage and even forgot their punchlines and jokes. Perhaps a few more rehearsals were necessary.
Best: Atif Aslam gave a tribute to Shabnam
After all the Lux girls were done with their performances, Atif Aslam took over the stage to do a rendition of the classic track ‘Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana’ as a tribute to the icon Shabnam, who came all the way from India to enjoy the show.
The singer then brought the star on stage for the tribute, also bringing Shabnam’s on-screen partner Nadeem Baig to make the moment even more precious. Seeing our icons get the admiration they deserve was one of the highlights of the show.