In a fair world, everyone involved in a movie would get an award in Pakistan. But we don’t live in a fair world and Sajal Aly is very aware of that.
After the 2023 Lux Style Awards, the star took to Instagram to acknowledge the many, many people who weren’t awarded or even acknowledged during the show. From fellow stars such as Mehwish Hayat for London Nahi Jaunga, Zara Noor Abbas for Badshah Begum and Ushna Shah for Habs, to supporting actors and technical teams, Aly is an ally to everyone.
Here’s why that’s so important.
This is a perfect example of women supporting women. Aly did not talk about herself, even though she didn’t win an award either — instead she gave examples of other female actors who have been doing terrific work but have not received acclaim for it. She used her platform to uplift her fellow women, and we love her for it.
She also spoke about the contributions of everyone involved in making shows and films successful and the need to have specific categories for them too.
While it’s true that a lot of lead actors deserve praise for their work, is it necessary for us to make it all about them? For example, was Humsafar only about Asher and Khirad’s love story? The whole storyline and supporting cast’s arcs deserve our attention without reducing a show or film to just the main characters.
To be honest, reducing any show or film to just the main couple feels shallow. Art deserves to be celebrated as a whole; with all of its components equally applauded.
As part of Aly’s desire for more acclaim for everyone involved in the industry, she also spoke about the importance of honouring supporting actors.
This is something that is rarely mentioned in Pakistan, when it is often the supporting actors who play the most crucial role in making a show or a film worth watching. Without good acting from the supporting roles and their input within the story, any show or film would seem incomplete.
Aly also talked about the need to appreciate those who work behind the scenes. “My second request is that LSA also needs to honour technical teams like DOPs and their very hard working teams who create magic for us, us actors and for the audiences who see us,” she said.
It’s important to see how other countries media praise their entertainment industries. The Oscars and the Emmys honour not only the best actors but the best supporting actors alongside the best director, best makeup and hairstyling, as well as best costume design and production design, among many other categories.
It is important that our industry credits not only its lead actors and popular shows, but all the supporting actors and production team behind it as well, because after all, what would Umeed from Fairytale be without her colourful and carefully curated clothes or Hassan from Dastan be without his signature sherwani and oiled hair? Did music (and a very artfully styled shawl) not play a part in stirring your emotions when Murtasim appeared on screen in Tere Bin?
Without acknowledging the part played by the people who curate these things and make sure that it looks perfect each and every time, we are doing a disservice to the industry. They deserve as much — if not more — praise than the actors on screen.
In 2022, Meesha Shafi and Momina Mustehsan had called out the Lux Style Awards for excluding female nominees in the best musician category. So, criticism against the LSAs is not new. Every year, someone or the other gets snubbed and that’s through no fault of their own. In the case of the best musician category, it was the lack of separate male/female categories that led to an almost complete erasure of female artists.
Without proper categories honouring ALL the actors, all the supporting staff and production team, there is simply no way that our awards could truly honour the art that is being produced. So, we need to consider what Aly has said and work towards an equitable celebration for the entire industry.