If you’ve been thinking that online voting is the main reason why a celebrity is able to bag an award at events these days, actor and recently appointed vice-chairman of the Punjab Film Censor Board, Vasay Chaudhry is here to break it to you that that’s not how it actually works.
In an interview with director Rafay Rashdi on Sunday, Chaudhry was asked about the jury system for Pakistani award shows and how a neutral approach is taken for big award events. The London Nahi Jaunga actor, Chaudhry said, “I’ve been nominated a couple of times and five years ago I was part of a jury for two years. The time I’m talking about is before social media and I’ve been clear about one thing that is this that there’s no such thing as public voting. It’s the biggest black-hole you can jump into, there’s no such thing as public voting because only jury can decide,” he said.
“This is a not-so-Pakistani yet a Pakistani invention that there is a public voting or polling session, it’s all rubbish. It’s like the Oscars, if Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated, he would’ve gotten an award years ago because no fan club is bigger than his and he won just now, like two or three years ago. He should’ve won one for his film Titanic. Tom Cruise would’ve won an Oscar every single time because he has a fan club of his own as well. Same goes for Brad Pitt. Conclusion: there’s no such thing as online viewing or polling,” he reasoned.
Chaudhry called it a “stupid concept” and explained that online polling or voting is for the stars whose fans help them bag an award and that the power of fans is limited to increasing the worth of the star’s project or work, just like how they head to cinemas to watch the movies help the film break a record. But for him, that’s where the power of fans ends and in comes a jury to judge the celebrity for an award, based on their performance.
“Here come the peers, the seniors who will judge their skill sets, be it actor, writer, director or musician. This is where fans are removed from the picture. Even if I have one or two fans or if it’s Fawad Khan with his 20 million fans, they are all removed. Now our skill-set will be prioritised and presented to that jury who will decide which actor, director, writer or whatever wins. It’s a big glitch in the Pakistani award system because they do this ‘to increase interaction’ for their award show to expand. It’s ridiculousness,” the Jawani Phir Nahi Ani actor said.
“This concept came from the Lux Style Awards (LSAs). But even before that, it came from India, in 1996 or a time after that when Shah Rukh Khan won a lot of awards. But at the same time came Manoj Bajpayee’s Satya that did really well, on his level. That’s where they understood that Bajpayee can act and came critic awards, Best Actor Critic and Best Actor Popular. This way they kept the actor’s honour as well as the popularity factor,” he shared.
For him, the same formula has been applied to Pakistani award shows. “Our version of that is that the Best Actor award is bagged by the one who gets the most votes. It’s not elections, it’s about judging someone based on the skills, by veterans of the industry,” Chaudhry said.
He opposed the idea of viewers choice awards and called it “the stupidest logic” because “there’s no such thing as viewers choice because there’s only one Best Actor award. Not Best Actor Critic or Best Actor Choice.”
“You’re not in a cinema hall, you’re not in the box office. That’s separate. An examination hall where someone like veterans or experienced people are judging you, it’s about your skills not about your fans or perhaps even your star power or anything of that sort. This is a way to make someone happy because you don’t want to break their heart that this actor or actress doesn’t leave without an award,” he said.
Fan voted award nominations have been brought into limelight after Feroze Khan bagged the Best TV Actor (Male) Viewer’s Choice at the 21st LSAs this week.
The nominations stirred controversies after the actor made it to the list for his show Khuda Aur Mohabbat alongside Ahmed Ali Akbar for Parizaad, Bilal Abbas Khan for Dunk, Danish Taimoor for Ishq Hai and Imran Ashraf for Raqs-e-Bismil.
Khan has been accused of abuse and infidelity by his former wife Aliza Sultan. Though Khan has denied what he called were “baseless, malicious and untruthful” accusations, it didn’t stop people from criticising the award show for including someone accused of domestic abuse.
As a result, filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy returned her Lux Lifetime Achievement Award and designer Maheen Khan returned her awards. Explaining why he was present at the award show after extending support to Khan’s former wife, Osman Khalid Butt issued a statement in which he said he had one condition to attend and perform at the recent award show, which was Khan not being present at the event. His statement came after he was criticised for attending it.