The Lux Style Awards (LSAs) are as famous for their grandiose ceremonies as they are for instigating controversies.
Every year, nominations announcements are inevitably followed by riled egos and offended celebrities who are aghast when they are not recognised for their body of work during the year. Allegations of ‘bias’ and ‘favoritism’ float about eventually leading up to the awards ceremony where the results lead up to yet more tirades. Consequently, quite a few celebrities have openly boycotted the awards in the past or simply, preferred to stay away from them.
And yet, the LSAs treaded new territory this year with longtime producer and director Frieha Altaf replaced by Hassan Sheheryar Yasin. One can’t deny Frieha’s limitless contributions to the platform, fostering it into becoming a larger-than-life affair, churning out limitless memorable moments and steering it forwards with the times.
“At the LSAs, I have always felt that decisions are made based on PR. Undeserving actors are lauded while the ones who have truly worked hard over the years are made to feel insecure,” Noman Ijaz.
At the same time, her successor, HSY, has a flair for showmanship and befriending anybody he meets. Shero, hailing from a designing career, has long dressed the stars, hosted them at his home, posed and preened with them in the social pages and grilled them in his TV talk show. It was this innate clout for PR that he pulled while helming the LSAs.
The effort showed.
Stars who had long evaded the affair were suddenly back on the red carpet. One saw actor Noman Ijaz present an award on the stage and Mikaal Zulfiqar quipped about in a short segment with actress Sanam Saeed. Imran Abbas, another celebrity disillusioned by the awards, sang a poignant, heartwarming tribute to the legendary celebrities who had breathed their last over the past year.
The final coup de grâce was, of course, the return of Reema to the stage. There was a time when Reema had been a popular ‘Lux’ girl and an LSA mainstay. Even now, she remains one of the country’s most well-loved stars although she had been avoiding the limelight for some time now, having moved out of the country after her marriage. Her performance on the LSA stage proved to be one of the show’s biggest highlights. Dressed in an all-white HSY, she danced like a dream, with the grace and finesse of the absolute star.
“I have to give Shero credit for bringing me back,” said the actress, who has long been HSY’s friend and muse. “Earlier, I had been away from the LSAs due to family commitments, although the brand remains close to my heart. Coming back to the stage this year was a wonderful experience.”
While HSY’s ability to sustain friendships is undeniable, an irate Saba Qamar boycotted the awards due to the unfair nominations. It just goes to show that you can’t please everybody – even if you’re the well-loved Shero.
In a similar vein, many others cited the ‘Shero factor’ for returning to the ceremony. Actor Mikaal Zulfiqar elaborated that he attended the show predominantly for the ‘team that was doing it’.
“I continue to have problems with the nominations process at the LSAs and hope that they achieve some semblance of credibility in the near future. I did appreciate the fact that I was invited in to do something more than merely present an award.”
He added, “It was a well-organized event that ended on time which is an unprecedented achievement. Also, the team went the extra mile for us. The personal calls from Shero, the welcome note and box of chocolates when arriving at the hotel and the ready availability of cars for every guest made one feel respected. It was a very good experience for me.”
Imran Abbas, meanwhile, was drawn back to the LSA stage by two major factors. For one, he was asked to be part of a segment that he couldn’t say no to. “I have been avoiding award ceremonies for some time because I feel that they are not fair and are basically organised to oblige channels or sponsors’ favorites,” said Imran.
“But when Shero asked me to sing a tribute to all the many legends we have lost over the past year, I put my heart into it. I feel that it’s important to remember those who have left us not just in times of sadness but also in times of celebration, as in the case of the LSAs,” he explained. Predictably, he also attended in order to extend his support to ‘good friend’ Shero.
One wishes, though, that the stars had not been as vocal about lauding HSY while on stage. They may have had been speaking from the heart but it all seemed to be a bit too promotional.
The general disregard for the awards was voiced out by actor Noman Ijaz who came on stage to present the trophies and sardonically jibed, “Yeh toh hum sub ke mil bethnay ka bahana hai, Akhir Unilever or channels ko bhi toh kuch kamana hai, (This is just an excuse for a meet and greet. After all, Unilever and channels have to earn as well),” implying that while he enjoyed the chance to meet up with his peers, he felt that the ceremony was just a business venture for its sponsors.
“I believe that a proper team needs to do research before taking on the responsibility of giving out awards,” said the actor, in an interview with Images.
“At the LSAs, I have always felt that decisions are made based on PR. Undeserving actors are lauded while the ones who have truly worked hard over the years are made to feel insecure. Phantom awards like ‘Best Impactful Character’ may be created simply to make special guests happy. The show is planned merely a month before which results in lousy comedy and actresses who don’t know the first thing about how to stand on stage. That’s not how you hold a prestigious event! A person’s success simply can’t be measured by such slipshod benchmarks.”
And Noman simply deigned to come to the LSAs ‘for Shero who is like a brother to me’.
One wishes, though, that the stars had not been as vocal about lauding HSY while on stage. They may have had been speaking from the heart but it all seemed to be a bit too promotional for a platform as mass-centric as the LSAs. And while HSY’s ability to sustain friendships is undeniable, an irate Saba Qamar boycotted the awards due to the unfair nominations. It just goes to show that you can’t please everybody – even if you’re the well-loved Shero.
Regardless, the LSAs remain a force to be reckoned with. The yearly show is highly anticipated and the award results may be criticised and dissected but they never go unnoticed. It is evident, though, that while brand LSA may have its strengths, the local celebrity fraternity is also often drawn by the personality helming the LSA. The awards have always been high on star power but it was good to see some of acting’s most-loved make a comeback to the gilded red carpet.
We are, after all, an emotional breed. Great value is given to friendship and we still prefer to be invited by a personalised phone call rather than a quick, convenient WhatsApp message. That’s how the ‘Shero factor’ worked at the LSAs this time. And while you may or may not have liked the ceremony this time, you can’t deny that it was veritably star-studded.