Pakistani Showbiz

The Lux Style Awards conundrum


KARACHI: If the Lux Style Awards (LSA) operated like the Chinese calendar, then 2014 would have been referred to as the ‘Year of No Award Ceremony’ and 2015 as the ‘Year of the Pullouts’.

Going by the current trend, the 2016 edition of the popular award show appears to be no different with controversy engulfing the LSAs ever since the nominees were announced last week.

Only a few days after Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA) actor Ahmad Ali Butt requested the organisers to remove his nomination from the ‘Best Actor’ category to ‘Best Supporting Actor’, Jalaibee-star Ali Safina followed suit by withdrawing his nomination.]

In a lengthy Facebook post addressing his pullout, Safina termed his nomination as ‘Best Supporting Actor’ to be incorrect.

“I would like to also point out that my work in the film Jalaibee was not that of a supporting actor but of the protagonist who was narrating the entire story,” read his Facebook post.

Although the LSAs are no stranger to controversies, these controversies and finger-pointing at one of Pakistan’s most anticipated award shows have become a common occurrence over the past few years.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a former jury member shared how the award shows lacked transparency. Narrating an incident from the jury for television awards category, he told how certain members were nominating people at their own discretion.

“People in the six-member jury hadn’t even seen many of the drama serials,” he said while requesting anonymity, adding, “I remember that some of the actors were nominated out of the blue as they weren’t even part of the long list that was initially given to us.”

He mentioned, “It was like selecting one mithai from a box of ten sweets, but the problem is that the sweet you’ve selected was never in the box to begin with.”

Having been part of the selection process for the show, he shared how the event is yet to establish an identity and niche for itself. “The LSAs initially started off as fashion awards. Then they leaned towards music then TV and now film. There is still no category for writers,” he lamented.

With the controversy surrounding Butt and Safina’s nominations taking centre stage, Country Head at Golin Pakistan and LSA Media Manager Fareshteh Aslam refused to comment on the situation. “I would not be commenting on the nominations,” said Aslam.

However, she did reveal that a review committee will now look at the film category. Whether the committee will just be revising Safina and Butt’s nominations or the whole category, it is yet to be known.

According to the former jury member, another thing that remains unknown about this year’s award shows is their model. “Nobody knows if they would be viewer’s choice or not,” he revealed.

Commenting on the situation, film-maker Jami said that given the nascent state of the industry, it was important that there is transparency.

“From exhibitors to producers to distributors and even award shows there should be total honesty if our film industry is to flourish,” he stated.

Using the example of the Academy Awards, the director shared that it would be better if everyone knew about the people present in the jury so that they could be held accountable for their decisions later on.

According to an earlier report, Butt had sent an e-mail to the jury requesting them to change his category. The actor-cum-VJ was not available for a comment.

Entering into its 15th year, the show saw its nominations get announced at an event on May 30. For the first time in the award’s history, supporting and singing categories were also introduced in the film section.

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