The Pakistan International Screen Awards (PISA) are scheduled to be held in Dubai today, with the purported aim of celebrating Pakistani talent from the entertainment industry internationally. The event first came into the limelight a few weeks back when celebrity shoutouts started making rounds and it seemed as the who’s who of the entertainment industry would be getting together in Dubai for what seemed to be a grand award show.
Things took a slight hiccup when the makers announced Mahira Khan as one of the performers and the actress took to her Twitter account and issued a public denial to the news that she will be performing at the ceremony. However, this was soon a thing of the past as swanky images of a private jet en route Dubai with some starlets and Farhan Saeed started making the rounds and everything seemed to be going great, but let’s just say this was the calm before the storm!
At this point, it is pertinent to mention that our founder Momin Ali Munshi too had been contacted by the event’s PR firm for coverage of the event and details of the arrangement were locked and the required information for logistical details had also been exchanged. Then, later on, due to some additional unreasonable demands by the PR firm, it became increasingly apparent the makers had other ideas up their sleeves and taking our journalistic credentials and ethics seriously we declined to serve as the show’s PR team.
Anyhow, back to the main story. Last night reports of questionable treatment started pouring in from multiple quarters in the industry with many veteran artists of the industry accusing the awards show of being a sham, with one senior actress even calling the event organizers “professional frauds.”
The skeletons started coming out of the closet, and how.
It started with Nabeel of Bulbulay fame posting on his Facebook that he had been nominated by PISA for Bulbulay and was invited to attend the award. What ended up happening was that the management team failed to fulfill their promises to Nabeel regarding his attendance due to which Nabeel said he would not be attending the awards. He called out the award for using his name to promote the show by luring in the audience under false promises. Nabeel was not the only one.
His post triggered responses from other industry veterans like Bushra Ansari, Hina Dilpazeer and Nadia Afghan expressed similar stories of being mismanaged. Bushra Ansari used her stance as an industry legend and questioned the very credibility of the award shows that completely mistrust the very same seniors of the industry which they claim to support and promote. But more importantly, she questioned the desperation of her industry fellows who willingly fall for the tactics of these award shows.
“I tell the artists to avoid these professional fraud businessmen who make money with our names and sell tickets. But I don’t know why these artists run for just a trip for free as if they never traveled abroad or stayed in a hotel. They are exploiting artists and making money. They don’t pay us, why should we give them business?”
Nabeel and Hina weren’t the only ones who were meant to attend the awards and couldn’t do so because of the PISA team’s failure of providing them the promised air tickets. As more details about the highly mismanaged affair come to light, it has now emerged that Osman Khalid Butt and Ahmad Ali Akbar, leads in major films last year, as well as Usman Mukhtar, Ali Safina and filmmaker Saqib Malik were also left hanging high and dry by the organizers despite being listed as nominees.
Osman Khalid Butt took to Twitter to vent his frustrations about being at the receiving hand of the shoddy treatment, noting: “Please add Saqib Malik, Ahmed Ali and me in the list of non-influencer nominees deprived of private jet pictures. Seriously, though, the level of disrespect is astounding. None of us were gagging for a Dubai trip, all of us were kept in the dark and on standby till today.” Meanwhile, Ahmad Ali Akbar was furious at the organizers not “having the decency to answer back calls.”
Please add Saqib Malik, Ahmed Ali and me in the list of non-influencer (💔) nominees deprived of private jet pictures.
Seriously, though, the level of disrespect is astounding. None of us were gagging for a Dubai trip, all of us were kept in the dark and on standby till today.
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) February 7, 2020
Ali Safina describing his ordeal hilariously quipped about receiving the visa for a salesperson from the event organizers. Importantly, he also pointed fingers at the showbiz fraternity for patronizing such dubious events. “It seems like any Tom, Dick and Harry can organize an awards show and all they (the artistes) need to be there is a ticket and a hotel stay to be there.”
Moreover, celebrities such as Iqra Aziz, Yasir Hussain, Asim Azhar, Hania Aamir among others whose names were used for promoting the event via shoutouts will also not be a part of the show due to mismanagement on part of the makers.
Industry insiders are also questioning the criteria for selection as some of the people present at the show don’t even have work to their credit which has raised serious doubt on the authenticity of the show.
Interestingly, there are also claims that certain nominees have been changed at the last minute, something which has raised concerns about favoritism. All of this brings into question the selection criteria for the show. One of the jury members of the show Omair Alavi took to Facebook, posting “Jab Dubai lay ja nahi saktay toh jury main rakhtay kiyon hon” meaning the journalist was also left in the lurch.
Galaxy Lollywood reached out to PISA organizers for their comments. However, no response was received till the filing of this story. As of now, the event is all set to take place as per the schedule and a lot of Pakistani celebrities such as Hira Mani, Adnan Siddiqui, Momina Mustehsan, Ali Zafar and Mahira Khan have reached Dubai for the show.
Stay tuned to Galaxy Lollywood for more on this developing story.