The week has been a triumphant one for Pakistanis. From rooting for the cricket team at the T20 to welcoming the reopening of cinemas as impending block busters drop trailers upon expectant viewers, to holding national award ceremonies on international shores.
IPPA 2021 was held last weekend. And before we go on to unravel the list of winners & not so winners, which you can do here, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the feel of Pakistani celebs stepping onto foreign soil & celebrating the industry that has been an ambassador of our culture, arts, talent and so much love.
Yes, Istanbul was home to the IPPA 2021 Awards and it was no small effort to get them off the ground. But when the national anthems of both nations played out in silent respect, as the auditorium and its occupants stood still to mark the moment, the feeling was gold for those who witnessed it.
THIS is the moment you might not hear about amidst the wardrobe malfunctions, claims of disorganisation, disorientation ( as guests clambered for unclaimed seats) and a slightly skewed or partisan winners list (?) … say some, not us!
The point is, no award show in the history of a speckled Pakistani award history has enjoyed a smooth bts and flawless event management. It could be the questionable nominations, the OTT costumes, the lacklustre performances or the general absence of star power that marks the cracks, but, rest assured, to criticise is our right, to encourage is divine.
So I will first celebrate the fact that we reached a point where we could hold such a show post covid, on an international scale yet again! Being able to showcase our nation’s talent on foreign shores yet again, is one more step towards promoting our local industry, so two thumbs up to the organisers for trying.
Now here comes the part everyone’s writing about.
A Super Late Start
Planned for 5pm red carpet and 7pm ceremonies begin was pushed onto 7pm red carpet and 9pm hosting time. Can’t say who was at fault, the stars for arriving late, or the organisers for not starting without them?
In between media reports of a distraught model whose costume received a scolding, and the usual red carpet pandemonium with media people clambering over one another to ‘get’ the celebrity and the shot, let’s take a look at the positives first.
Red Carpet Looks
Hania Amir looked a pretty sight in a red Sana Safinaz Outfit that only she could carry off to petite perfection. She won IPPA 2021 ‘Global Icon’ of the year award as well as ‘Coolest Star’ of the year!
Hira Mani & Mani amused with their tongue in cheek conversation, effortless wit and glittery persona and attires that added glitz to the ceremony. Hira also walked off with ‘Star of the year’ award!
Amar Khan stood out for us by taking on a local Turkish designer Oleg Cassini to wear for the party. It was stunning and became her totally, infact, she wore it superbly – stylish & chic.
Zara Noor Abbas charmed in black and so did Aiman Khan. Of course, the cherry on top had to be Meera Jee in a mint green floral dress that trailed magnificently. She always amazes with her flawless look & unpretentious comebacks. Love Meera for all that and more. Saqib Malik assisted her trail gallantly and it was a sweet moment to see him give her a helping hand.
Donned in a steel grey striped suit, we also met Ali Rehman Khan who might not have walked off with ‘Style Icon’ award but thoroughly looked the part, and won ‘Hottest Star’ label instead. Muneeb Butt conquered the red carpet like nobody’s business, colour coordinating with spouse Aiman & our very own Adnan Siddiqui aka Shahwar looking dapper as always in shades of brown and beige.
Now for all those who want to complain about the fashion, it was actually quite spiff.
The stars turned out more relaxed than usual, perhaps the Turkish sea breeze added to the general level of laid back fun and banter, or the fact that the guest list was mainly composed of friends and families and mostly those who had won. Nevertheless, there was a general sense of camaraderie that filtered through the evening and swept away the heavy covid-ness that fills our lives.
Onwards to the ceremony highlights!
The national anthems of both nations stole the show like we mentioned. But before we could take a pause, Farhan Saeed entertained with an energetic number, Na Cher Malanga Nu, that got everyone energised and ready to see more (despite the late start).
Rocking the stage with one of his own numbers and then on Lahore Tera Tay from JPNA2 one wanted to know which youth elixir he’s been drinking because Farhan didn’t miss a beat!
Speaking of youth elixirs, our very own Abrar ul Haq entertained with a double appearance. Once crooning impromptu with zero musical support – Billo de ghar & Sanu Tere Naal always breathe life into audiences and an unplugged spontaneous version revealed the true power of vocals that have become even more powerful with age.
Abrar followed that up later with a performance that traversed his hit singles as well as the latest Biwi Shak Karti Hai number, considered a tad problematic by twitterati. The audience moved to the beat just as well, perhaps because they weren’t really concentrating on the lyrics… though I would say the same about Billo de ghar?
Ali Rehman Khan & Nadia Hussain hosted with lively banter onstage. This was followed up by Yasser Hussain & Moomal Sheikh who looked charming in yellow by the way.
And The Award Goes To
Adnan Siddiqui took over the hosting and also won the ‘Best Actor in a Negative Role’ for Shahwar in Mere Paas Tum Ho. However he humbly pronounced that Shahwar didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary. Infact, he did what every man wants to do – charm a pretty girl! If I heard that right, Adnan Sahab is alluding to the fact that every man wants to steal another man’s wife if she is pretty, or that every man is like Shahwar? Yes, a tad problematic there but we’ll let it rest.
Asim Azhar won best singer. Unfortunately he was not there to receive it but Zara Noor Abbas came up on stage to receive it on his behalf. She warmly accepted it for him, and mentioned that he would have thanked his parents if he were there – that one came from the heart and the audience cheered on.
Award for ‘Best Social Media Couple‘ had to go to none other than Aiman Khan & Muneeb Butt. They ace their insta feed like pros so well deserved there and go ahead, check out what they posted recently and follow them if you’re not already!
‘Lifetime Achievement’ award and a moment of silence was given to none other than the star who left us earlier this year – Umar Shareef. Atiqa Odho dressed in magnificent flowing attire & looking lovely as ever paid tribute to the comedian who left us too soon…
“It is my honour to receive this for Umar Shareef, who changed face of comedy in South Asia.”Atiqa Odho
We also got to see a brief video throwback to Umar Shareef which was a welcome effort by the IPPA 2021 organisers, a dil se effort for sure.
If heartfelt acceptance speeches were in short supply, Feroze Khan didn’t disappoint as he requested his mother to come up on stage and receive the ‘Style Icon Award’
‘Style Icon’ Female was awarded to Mansha Pasha and rightly so. Mansha gave a shout out to husband Jibran Nasir for ironing her dress (yeah, put your hands together for men supporting their wives), her mom for always motivating her to look her best and her team!
Best OST went to Ehd e Wafa composed & sung by Ustad Rabat Fateh Ali with lyrics from Imran Raza. So add this one to your playlist if you haven’t already!
For more on winners, do visit the winners post to get the full list.
The highs, a few lows and some suggestions?
A general sense of chaos behind the scenes at Pakistani awards ceremonies is something we take in our stride, but I’m wondering why we have to. We are used to last minute seat allocations – the brother of a someone needs tickets (best seats in the house, mind you) last minute or red carpet frenzy, sound checks, late starts are all part of the drama called Pakistani awards shows.
Some of the glitches translated into back stage sound issues where actors couldn’t hear the announcements or awards that went missing, to be found later.
On the other hand, it was wonderful to see the acting fraternity turn out in full force and pay tribute to their families and team for supporting their success.
Light refreshments at the onset were a welcome start and kept us going till the early hours of the morning.
Finally, a suggestion to the organisers and entertainers. We are now at the precipice of a post-covid entertainment world. We understand that the blood, sweat and tears that go into producing a show of international proportions is monumental. Let’s start with standard practice that is followed all around the world – punctuality. Many Turkish guests and dignitaries left in between the show because they could not stay past an (unearthly hour). Organizers and celebrities alike must realize that this is not the big fat Pakistani wedding, but an award show held at an international level. Some mindfulness towards the comfort of our guests will go a long way at cementing stronger ties with fellow nations, and might also help correct our own cultural (late) habits.
The governor Sind, Imran Ismail, in his speech at IPPA 2021 seemed to hint at future cultural collaborations between the two countries – Turkey and Pakistan. This cannot happen seamlessly till we are ready to change the way we approach, plan and manage our events and shows.
The onus does not lie upon show organizers alone. The audiences are equally involved in this process. As Pakistani audiences, I would request you to promote your country by purchasing a ticket for the award show, stop asking for a free ride and do your bit. Together, we can make this work!