The Lux Style Awards were fantastic, long winded - as they always are - but great fun with a lot of new faces, first time winners, fantastic performances - a mix of the classic and the cutting edge. Amanat Ali and Ahmed Jehanzeb on one hand and rapper Adil Omar and Bumbu Sauce on the other. All the dancers from the umpteen dance schools like Act One that have opened up in the country gave tremendous energy to the event. LSA 2012 had a ‘Made in Pakistan’ feel... with a feel of India thrown in via one of our own who has bowled them over across the border - as well as us - with the way he’s done it.
Ali Zafar strikes a chord
LSA 2012 will belong to Ali Zafar hands down. He was too caught up with making a mark in India to attend the last couple of ceremonies but then, it's only been a short while since the LSAs made a comeback. This year, Ali Zafar makes a comeback to the motherland too. It's been a long journey for the boy who performed ‘Channo’ on the LSA platform in 2004 when he swept the popular music categories for his debut album the rollicking Huqa Pani. In 2012 the LSA finale of 'Madhubala' showed the same verve and spark amplified by Bollywood and a man who is ready to take it all on. Meanwhile the Ali Zafar your parents and grandparents fell in love with (via Coke Studio gems like ‘Allah Hoo’ and ‘Dastaan e Ishq’) made his presence felt with his cover of Mehdi Hasan's immortal 'Mujhe Tum Nazar Se Gira Tou Rahay Ho' accompanied by Assad Ahmed on guitar and Manu on bass amongst others. Visuals of Mehdi Hassan were the backdrop and the image was immensely powerful. Ali Zafar is proof that gayiki is alive and well in Pakistan, his tribute to the ultimate Shahenshah e Ghazal was haunting and nuanced. After that he shifted to livewire performances of his hit songs from his album Jhoom, Yashraj Films' Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and the lovely, edgy, modern day romance London Paris New York, for which he had sung, written lyrics and composed the soundtrack. It was a fitting finale to the Lux Style Awards 2012 and the best welcome home party for a son of the soil. One makes special note of the fact that Ali Zafar came back to perform - with all his lucrative assignments across the border, he needn't bother, really. One hears he was his perfectionist self, rehearsing till the early hours of the morning, especially not wanting to get his tribute to Mehdi Hassan wrong which he began so humbly by saying, 'Unn ki tarha gaana tou na mumkin hai, yeh ek chhoti si koshish hai. (It's impossible to sing like him, this is a small effort.)' Something for the youth, something for aficionados of ghazal, Ali Zafar brought ‘IT’ to the LSAs in every sense of the word. Watch out!
— LSA photos by Faisal Farooqui
Multifaceted: Ali Zafar can play the piano and serenade a girl with his own composition ‘Woh Dekhnay Mein’ (left), rock it all out with a high energy performance to his hit number ‘Madhubala’ (above) with all the confidence and crowd pleasing antics of a masala Bollywood star or pay an incredibly respectful and nuanced tribute to Shahenshah e Ghazal Mehdi Hassan (top right). At LSA 2012 he did all this and more.
The return of the prodigy
Singh is not Kinng…
Butt is King
Ahmed Ali Butt was a revelation. We have always known his funny side but the way he carried the ceremony on his shoulders was a revelation. His LSA song, a rap number sung to the tune of 'Smack That' set the hysterical ball rolling. One can't help but compare it to IIFA 2012 where Farhan Akhtar sang an IIFA song to the tune of the title song of his hit film Rock On - Ahmed Ali Butt takes the cake! His bedharak antics and versatility - the man gets television, fashion, music and film completely. We were especially thrilled by his catwalk when he sportingly followed Aamina Sheikh (looking like a million bucks in a Maheen Karim gown) and by his skills at fielding a bout of celebrity antakshari. An out and out entertainer all the way. It's always a revelation to see the kind of talent we've got.
Youngs guns come out blazing
Perhaps the liveliest segment of the LSAs this time round was the slot given to emerging talent. Youtube favourites like Nauman Khaled and Osama Com Laude put up their desi thumka, Ram Lal rocked out on stage and Adil Omar 'the' rapper from Islamabad was ‘Pindi Express’ all the way… move over Shoaib Akhtar! These are the new people who are coming out, expressing themselves, making their mark. And if it’s too controversial for television, they will do it via Youtube. The world is getting smaller and they are all over. The Emerging Talent win for Bumbu Sauce also exemplifies this new trend that is happening. Hopefully we will see them performing at LSAs in the future. This time round, the livewire energy of the young guns that are blazing redefined entertainment at the LSAs with angst, humour and an in-your-face attitude. More please!
The ‘F’ factor
The queen of colour, embroidery, embellishment Faiza Samee got a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement which was handed over by two of her most trusted and respected craftsmen, Shahid and Usman Qureshi. They’ve been with her since the beginning - training new people, ensuring our heritage lives. Faiza Samee is one of the pioneers of keeping tradition alive. Meanwhile, the LSAs for Achievement in Fashion Design went to first time winners and they we all so well-deserved. Sania Maskatiya, whose flagship store is only into its second year now, won Luxury Pret for her outstanding Dilkash collection which every fashionista worth her salt was wearing in 2011. Kamiar Rokni who consistently makes strong style statements finally won for his edgiest collection yet, last year’s Modernist, a sophiticated twist on colour blocking; we were beginning to think he was too edgy to ever win an LSA, but times they are a’changing. Ditto for Omar Farooq of Republic whose strength in Menswear was recognised. The surprise was Zaheer Abbas’ win for Emerging Talent, he was in competition with strong designers like Akif Mehmood and Mohsin Ali; it was probaby the collection he put up for Nabila’s clever hair and make-up segment at PFDC L’oreal Bridal Week that involved a bride going into a box throwing off her outer layers and turning into a vixen that did it - memorable enough for get them both wins. With FPW back in action Karachi this year and talent like Shammal Qureshi, the fashion categories will be even more exciting come 2013. We are so ready for change, proof, Abbas Jafri of the long hair and beard won for Best Male Model, it was Iffi before him. Pretty boys are going out of style; bring on the men!
Thank you Ahmed Rushdi
An ode to Ahmed Rushdi (who was posthumously awarded a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award) will be another highlight of the LSAs. Performed by talent like Ahmed Jehanzeb, Amaanat Ali, Bilal Khan and enacted by stars like Meera, Mathira, Sana, Faisal Qureshi, and Ahsan Sheikh, it was medley of his evergreen numbers like 'Uran Khatola' 'Socha Tha Pyaar Na Karenge' and the resounding 'Ko Ko Korina'. Fun, peppy numbers all but what made everyone sit up and take notice was the electrifying Mathira moving slinkily to 'Jisay Jaantay Nahin, Pehchantay Nahin' with (recognise him?) Junaid Khan of Call fame. Katrina’s arrival rumours may have gone with the wind, but we have our very own 'Chikni Chamelis' and they are coming out slowly. As time unfolds one would love to see who Ali Zafar's female counterpart will be in Bollywood, winning hearts, minds and challenging perceived notions of Pakistan across the border. Time will tell and we live in very interesting times.
The big guns of the small screen
Bushra Ansari may not have been nominated this year but her presence was immense. As Ahmed Ali But sang, “Sari actresses kitne pyaari lag rahi hain, under se ek doosre se jal rahihain, In ko lage yeh award in ka hi hai, In ko maloom nahin ke Bushra yahin hain.” When she got up on stage with Behroze Subzwari, the two had included the cooling going off into their script, making digs at the kind of clothes being worn (‘Frieha type ke kapray’), it was hysterically funny. These are the people who speak to the nation. In contrast it was Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy in her on-trend Sania Maskatiya who accepted an LSA after her Oscar. The LSAs are where all extremes meet and interact. In the Pakistani context, Bushra’s Saima Chaudhry from the Kis Ki Ayegi Baraat series is bigger than Ho Yaqeen or Saving Face can ever be despite the Oscar win. The big guns of the small screen favour eastern wear, saris were big with Bushra, Saadia Imam and Bindiya sporting the elegant sub-continental garment. Momina Duraid of Hum TV also sported a lovely long lehnga style pure white ensemble while one time supermodel Zainab Qayoom who is back in Pakistan and television now also sported a full on eastern jora. When in Rome do as the Romans. The power of the medium and the electricity of its performers cannot be denied. Ultimately it is Ali Zafar, the Ahmed Rushdi tribute, the hyper kinetic music performances by the crazy new talent, the zany compering of Ahmed Ali Butt that will make the LSAs. The fashion segment that takes place on stage will drag it down. Featuring Akif Mehmood, Ali Xeeshan, Fahad Hussayn it had zero impact, but then again the fashion segment never does. The stage is too big, the target audience all wrong for fashion to make a mark. Also, no designer will give their best collection to the LSAs; they will save it for fashion week. It is on the LSA red carpet that fashion breathes and like the Oscars, the IIFAs and the Filmfares that’s where it should remain - who wore what is enough for it. The fashion categories should remain though, after all, what would the Lux Style Awards be without the ‘F’ factor?