Now that both the grandeur and hullabaloo of the LSA Nominee Reveal event is behind us, one can sit back, relax and figure out what exactly happened in the secret chambers that the esteemed jury members were locked up in for days. At the event itself – a schmoozing, posh evening affair – there were some standard, and some rather startling findings. For instance, established stars making a considerably late entrance is more than a common sight but a popular actor, and former jury member and musician, taking a jab at the fairness of the platform he is actually hosting is definitely eye-popping. I am talking about Ahmed Ali Butt, who took to the podium with all guns blazing, throwing one googly after the other and who ‘almost’ lit up the social media sphere with a new hashtag: ‘#LSAsOhSoCool’.
In short, the actor pretty much added fuel to the fire for the LSAs have long been criticized for awarding its favourites – ‘a cool posse’ – even though it takes immense pride in being the only unbiased, unaffiliated awarding body in the country. Of course the final winners list will eventually become the cause of many a whisper as dreams will be shattered and efforts flushed down in tears but in its 15th year, the institution has, without a doubt, put all criticism to rest with nominations that are not only diverse but also inclusive of people one would’ve never imagined getting recognized on such a mainstream platform. That said, one cannot talk about the LSAs without dissecting the nominations, especially the omissions. Snubs, surprises and egregious oversights are aplenty so let’s get digging!
Although fashion and style awards form the backbone of the LSAs and are in fact part of its legacy, the category – for the very first time in LSA history – almost got eclipsed by those of film and television because the latter ones obviously had more anticipation attached to them. Surprisingly enough, fashion is also the least controversial of the four categories, this year. The list offers a mix of pleasant surprises, deserving snubs and only a handful of faux pas.
Model of the Year (Male) remains unquestionable for the sheer reason that male models are few in number and successful ones, even scarcer. Blue-eyed boy Aimal Khan is a welcome addition but leading model Hasnain Lehri will possibly be the one taking the trophy home. That said, Jahan-e-Khalid is in close competition.
In comparison, while the nominees for Model of the Year (Female) come across as befitting at first glance, another look at them and one can clearly notice how some more deserving women have gotten the cold shoulder – particularly Sabeeka Imam and Fia Khan. Imam was not only a constant feature at runway shows but was also part of fashion campaigns and commercials. Her print portfolio encompassed a diverse set of advertorials and editorials for bridal wear as well as lawn. She was in fact the face of Pakistan’s biggest-selling lawn, Gul Ahmed, last year. Khan, on the other hand, may have been seen more on the catwalk and less in print but her presence on the runway remained captivating. With an angular face and non-traditional features, Fia has always managed to stand her own in an endless stream of pretty, whitewashed faces and, that too, despite being in the game for almost a decade. The fact that she hit the peak of her career in the past year and is now ready to move on, unlike many of her contemporaries who just refuse to let go, is what was worth recognizing.
One of these two could have easily replaced Rabia Butt who, though was spotted on billboards for both Elan and Sapphire, wasn’t quite the runway queen having remained occupied with her rather disappointing debut in the film Hijrat.
Moving on to fashion design, Achievement in Fashion Design (Lawn) needs no rework. The focus is clearly on designer lawn and these were the only five brands from the past year that attracted both the hype and the sales. The same, however, cannot be said for Achievement in Fashion Design (Luxury Pret). While it’s refreshing to see new names like Mahgul being noticed, it was unfair to blatantly overlook the popularity of some veterans. Sana Safinaz, Shehla Chatoor and Elan were the most trending labels across red carpets last year. From fashion weeks to luncheons and teatime soirees, fashionistas were seen in a gamut of creations from the Sana Safinaz SS15 collection – be it the colour-splashed printed flared pants or the luxurious duchess satin gowns. And though one cannot deny that Elan’s luxury pret was missing from the runway, it made up for lost times on almost every red carpet affair.
The bridal wear category is also crying for a mention of the dynamic duo, Sana Safinaz, for last year’s PLBW saw them step out of their comfort zone and put up one of the most technically innovated collection featuring belted peplum tops, 3d-embellished lehengas and the dull gold and maroon phenomenon that became a poster image for France Lesage. When it comes to Fashion Design (prêt), Daaman (though available across cities) wasn’t as deserving as Gulabo, a distinct and iconic brand that kept making appearances throughout the year. With no high street category and no fashion weeks to its credit, Khaadi was an understandable no show but the absence of Ismail Farid in the menswear department wasn’t quite welcoming.
When it comes to excellence in Hair and Make-up, we all know that Nabila is bound to win unless she decides to withdraw her nomination because no one can match the length and breadth of her work. Nabila is to LSAs what Lata Mangeshkar was to Filmfares; you can only stop nominating her and subsequently awarding her if she pulls out her name. As far as the remaining nominees are concerned, Natasha Khalid is the missing link. Though essentially a bridal make-up artist, Khalid was behind some noteworthy fashion campaigns and editorials. Finally, not to forget, it would have been interesting to see Zohra Rahman’s name in Best Emerging Talent. It’s funny how the glimmer and outreach of fashion overshadows jewellery designers even though they both are incomplete without each other. Rahman emerged as a rising star last year with her unconventional approach to accessory design and had her collections literally flying off the racks. She at least deserved a mention.
Model of the Year (Female)
Model of the Year (Male)
Jahan -e- Khalid
Rizwan ul Haq
Best Hair and Make-up Artist
Shammal Qureshi for Toni & Guy (North Pakistan)
Achievement in Fashion Design – Luxury Pret
Achievement in Fashion Design – Pret
Coco by Zara Shahjahan
Achievement in Fashion Design – Bridal
The House of Kamiar Rokni
Achievement in Fashion Design – Lawn
Best Menswear Designer
Hassan Sheheryar Yasin
Omar Farooq for Republic
Best Emerging Talent
Alee Hasan (Photography)
Ammara Khan (Designer)
Anum Malik (Model)
Hira Shah (Model)
Zara Abid (Model)
Music nominations, by far, came with the most interesting surprises this year. While it has been constantly reinforced that indie musicians are the greatest contributing factor to music’s survival in Pakistan, when it comes to recognition in the mainstream they have been hanging by a drawstring right at the doorstep. But it’s revolution time. Indie artistes have not only crossed borders and made it to international performing platforms like the SXSW and most recently, the HAU in Berlin, but have also pushed and fought to get a spot on the LSA nominations. And with that alone, the music jury has surely made a big statement. However, even though credit has been given where it’s due, attracting votes will remain a struggle because indie musicians lack mass popularity.
Particularly interesting this year is the Album of the Year category. The jury deserves a pat on the back for managing to list down five names, given how music albums in Pakistan have become ancient artifacts that require considerable investment but offer no return and because of which most artistes have simply resorted to producing singles. Song of the Year, on the other hand, is a great cause for debate. Though not original, ‘Tajdar-e-Haram’ was the most popular song to come out of Coke Studio last year. It was also the hottest sensation on social media, getting more than a million likes in a day and is in fact the most downloaded song from Coke Studio, till date. Of course, originality is first and foremost, but it goes without saying that Atif made the song his own instead of only imitating an earlier rendition and hence deserved a nomination. That said, points to the jury for giving ‘Tamasha’ by Khumariyaan a well-deserved mention.
The Best Music Video Director nominations are likely to leave many perplexed with no relatable, solid picks. The absence of Noori’s ‘Aik Tha Badshah’ is strongly felt. Though a strange diversion from their preferred sound, the video offered a subversive yet enthralling concept of power overtaking reason.
A reflection of their newfound ambition, the comeback video had fans trolling their page for hours and it would have been a good balance to nominate them in a list, which right now, has a lot less to relate to for commercial music lovers. This trend continues across the spectrum and only adds to the dilemma of indie vs. mainstream.
2015 saw Pakistani cinema rise from the ashes to actually grow into an industry with potential, releasing a total of 15 diverse set of films – from low-budgeted ventures like Good Morning Karachi to blockbuster masala potboilers like Jawani Phir Nahi Ani. And with channel-driven award shows patting their own backs and blowing their own trumpets, the LSAs had a greater responsibility to be fair and intelligent in their decision. However, while no worthy film has gone unrecognized, it’s evident that the jury was less kind to some of them.
Jawani Phir Nahi Ani rightfully leads with a total of nine nominations followed by Jami’s critically acclaimed Moor. However, Wajahat Rauf’s roadtrip comedy Karachi Se Lahore didn’t quite get enough love, grabbing only three nominations – one for Best Supporting Actor and one each for Best Singer Male and Female. And before you congratulate Ayesha Omar for ‘Tutti Fruity’ allow us to point out that the nomination for Best Playback Singer (Female) for KSL went to Zarrish for ‘Rabbi Ralli.’ The biggest surprise comes in the form of Ahmed Ali Butt getting a nomination for Best Actor when in fact his role was that of a supporting one. With Humayun Saeed leading the pack, this blunder naturally reduces Butt’s chances at winning an award that he clearly merited.
One was hoping that the wave of affection towards Mahira Khan would propel Bin Roye to a Best Picture nomination but in what was an eyebrow-raising surprise, the film was omitted from the category. It comes as quite a shock because Bin Roye was the third highest grossing movie of 2015 and had a considerably long run at cinemas overseas. Instead, Danish Taimoor-starrer Wrong No., which got a fair share of flak for hitting rock bottom with crass, vulgar comedy, made the cut. The choices leave one confused as to what was the criterion – box office numbers or quality content. In both cases, Bin Roye superseded at least one of the five films nominated.
The inclusion of Best Singer (Male) and (Female) categories is exciting but has room for a bit of improvement. Dekh Magar Pyar Se was undoubtedly the uncrowned worst movie of the past year but its soundtrack was its only redeeming feature and one that came with a lot of appreciation from listeners. Though competition would have been stiff, Soch’s ‘Tumhe Dillagi’ still should have been mentioned amongst the nominees. If playback singers can get a nod,then why not music composers? Perhaps, for future reference, this is a category that needs space on the roster.
For the most part, LSAs have gotten it right. They have refused to bow in direction of mainstream gibberish and have not shown bias towards any one particular film. Of course, thespians aren’t going to be the happiest souls since once again theatre has gone unacknowledged but in shortlisting the rest, it remained largely impartial. Now, all eyes are on the awards night that is tentatively scheduled to take place late July. Will it succumb to harsh criticism by only honouring the stars or will it embrace new talent and set change in motion? Watch this space for when the time comes…
Jawani Phir Nai Ani
Best Film Actress
Mahira Khan for Bin Roye
Mehwish Hayat for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Samia Mumtaz for Moor
Sania Saeed for Manto
Sohai Abro for Wrong No
Best Film Actor
Adnan Sarwar for Shah
Ahmed Ali Butt for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Hameed Sheikh for Moor
Humayun Saeed for Jawani Phir Nahi Aani
Sarmad Sultan Khoosat for Manto
Best Film Director
Adnan Sarwar for Shah
Jamshed Mehmood Raza for Moor
Momina Duraid & Shahzad Kashmiri for Bin Roye
Nadeem baig for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Sarmad Sultan Khoosat for Manto
Best Supporting Actress
Armeena Rana Khan for Bin Roye
Ayesha Khan for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Nimra Bucha for Manto
Sarwat Gillani for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Sohai Ali Abro for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Best Supporting Actor
Ali Safina for Jalaibee
Javed Sheikh for Wrong No.
Shaz Khan for Moor
Vasay Chaudhry for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Yasir Hussain for Karachi se Lahore
Best Singer (Male) – Film
Ali Noor & Ali Hamza OST Karachi Se Lahore
Ali Sethi for ‘Aah ko chahiye’ OST Manto
Javed Bashir for ‘Talabgaar’ OST Moor
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for ‘Teray Bina Jeena’ OST Bin Roye
Rahim Shah for ‘Gul Bashri’ OST Moor
Best Singer (Female) – Film
Abida Parveen for ‘Maula’ OST Bin Roye
Zeb Bangesh for ‘Kya Hoga’ OST Manto
Meesha Shafi for Eva OST Moor
Harshdeep Kaur for ‘Ballay Ballay’ OST Bin Roye
Zarrish for ‘Rabbi Ralli’ OST Karachi se Lahore
Best TV Play
Mohabbat Aag Si
Best TV Actor
Adnan Malik for Sadqay Tumharay
Faisal Qureshi for Rang Laga
Noman Ejaz for Zinda Dargor
Noor Hassan for Muqaddas
Osman Khalid Butt for Diyar e Dil
Best TV Actress
Iffat Umer in Mohabbat Aag Si
Mahirah Khan for Sadqay Tumharay
Maya Ali for Diyar e Dil
Saima Noor in Rang Laga
Sajjal Ali for Khuda Dekh Raha Hai
Best TV Director
Aamir Yousuf for Aap ki kaneez
Anjum Shahzad for Rang Laga
Ehteshamuddin for Sadqay Tumhare
Haseeb Hassan for Diyar e Dil
Sabiha Sumar for Khuda Dekh Raha Hai
Best TV Writer
Adeel Razzaq for Muqaddas
Farhat Ishtiaq for Diyar e Dil
Imran Nazir for Muhabbat Aag Si
Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar for Sadqay Tumhare
Sana Fahad for Rang Laga
Best Original Sound Track
‘Alvida’ by Shafqat Amanat Ali for Alivida by Momina Duraid, Humayun Saeed, Shehzad Naseeb
‘Diyar e Dil’ by Zeb Bangash and Momin Durrani for Diyar e Dil by Momina Duraid
‘Dusri Biwi’ by Ahmad Jahanzeb for Dusri Biwi by Fahad Mustafa & Ali Kazmi
‘Mohabbat Aag Si’ by Shafqat Salamat Ali & Beena Khan for MAS by Momina Duraid Productions
‘Mol’ by Bushra Bilal for Mol by Momina Duraid & Satish Anand
Album of the year
Bahadur Yaar Jung by E Sharp
Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh by Noori
Ismail ka Urdu Sheher by Zohaib Kazi
Saturday Night Killing Machine by Adil Omar and Talal Qureshi
Till the End of Time by Natasha Humera Ejaz
Song of the Year
‘Jogiya’ by Javed Bashir
‘Rockstar Romeo’ by Ali Zafar
‘Sarak Sarak’ by Mai Dhai Band
‘Shakar Wandaan’ by Asrar Shah
‘Tamasha’ by Khumariyaan
Best Music Video Director
Adil Omar for ‘Nighat & Paras’ by Adil Omar & Talal Qureshi
Kamal Khan for ‘Wake Up/Jaago’ by Zohaib Kazi
Nadir Shehzad Khan for ‘Baaghi’ by Sikandar Ka Mandar
Natasha Humera Ejaz & Shahrukh Khurshid for ‘Khwab’ by Natasha Humera Ejaz
Salman Noorani for ‘Mariam’ by Mooroo
Best Emerging Talent