Put on the haute couture, roll out the red carpet, and get ready to pose in front of hundreds of camera flashes – the awards season is here. The oldest and the biggest award show of the Pakistani fashion and entertainment industry, Lux Style Awards, recently announced the nominations for excellent achievements in the fashion, music, and TV category.
With no movies releasing the past year as the cinemas have remained closed for more than a year due to the pandemic, the 20th edition of Lux Style Awards is missing any nominations in the Film category. What is not missing is the controversy that always follows whenever LSA nominations are revealed.
No ARY Dramas?
Pakistani drama fans were in for quite a shock as a quick look at the television nominations shows the clear absence of names from one of the biggest television networks of the country – ARY Digital.
Between February to December 2020, a total of 16 dramas started airing on ARY Digital out of which at least 13 shows were eligible to be nominated based on the dates they started airing. Some of these dramas were the year’s biggest ratings and critical hits so having none of them is a part of the nominations definitely made us curious. Not including the projects of one of the major shareholders of the Pakistani television industry in the biggest award show of the country is a snub of gigantic proportions. However, it appears that the award show itself is not to be blamed for this outrageous snubbing.
The Reason Behind It
Galaxy Lollywood reached out to the officials at ARY Digital to get their comments on why none of ARY Digital’s dramas are included in the nominations for any television category. And apparently, it is because the channel had decided to not submit any of its projects to the award show’s committee for consideration. An unprecedented move by the channel, indeed.
ARY Digital has concerns and reservations about how the television jury at LSA works and the transparency of the voting system. An ARY official gave their statement that based on the history of LSA, ARY has decided not to submit any of its drama projects to the award show until their reservations and concerns about the LSA jury and voting system are resolved.
This is definitely a huge move on the channel’s part and one that would reflect very poorly on LSA’s credibility. ARY Digital has delivered huge dramas like ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Jalan’ in 2020, as well some of the critical hits of the year like ‘Dushman-e-Jaan’, ‘Ghisi Piti Mohabbat’, and ‘Prem Gali’. Pakistani drama fans were looking forward to watching these shows be celebrated and given their due recognition.
While shocking, it is not a move that came out of nowhere. Just last year, the Lux Style Awards had made a snub of gigantic proportions when the insanely popular OST of blockbuster ‘Mera Paas Tum Ho’ wasn’t even nominated for the Best Original Soundtrack. Moreover, quite a few other projects of the channel were not given the deserved nominations and wins
It isn’t just the channel that is displeased by the nominations released by LSA. Keeping up with what has become a tradition of the industry, many Pakistani celebrities took to their social media and posted their thoughts about the snubs of the year.
Sonya Hussyn, who cave a career defining performance in ‘Saraab’, posted on her Instagram story criticizing the LSA for not nominating the drama serial ‘Saraab’ in any category. She talked about the audience wanting meaningful content and when it is made by a team, the award show, instead of encouraging it, doesn’t even nominate it. She even listed out some of her previous dramas that revolved around important societal issues that were snubbed by the award show in the past.
Yasra Rizvi threw shade at the award show by calling it just another business opportunity for a beauty soap to sell a product and make a profit. In her Instagram story, she said that art is being used for profit by a business and that promotion of art was never the purpose of the award show. She ended her short and succinct criticism of the award show by sarcastically calling it “fair enough.”
Zara Noor Abbas, whose performances in ‘Ehd e Wafa’ was unanimously approved and appreciated by the audience is also not a part of any category. She took to Instagram to calm down her fans by thanking them for their love and considering the audience’s acceptance as the only award that matters.
Kubra Khan, who gave her career-best performance in the critically acclaimed drama ‘Alif’, also tweeted a similar message to her fans and thanked them for the love they have showered on her ever since the nominations were announced with her name nowhere to be found on them. Kubra said that “the fight, the love, the support” she had seen by her fans was worth more than any trophy she could ever win and she was grateful for all of that.
Several other celebrities spoke about it as well, including Ali Abbas and Srha Asgr.
The GEO Factor
Ardent fans of Pakistani dramas who wish to see more quality content be made and appreciated by the TV channels were left baffled seeing some of the dramas nominated. GEO Entertainment dramas like ‘Raaz-e-Ulfat’, ‘Meherposh’, and ‘Deewangi’ hardly have any kind of quality content that one would expect a prestigious award show to recognize.
But rumours are rife that following ARY’s footsteps, Geo Entertainment too was considering not submitting their dramas for the awards which would have put the LSAs in an even tighter spot. So to avoid such a situation the LSAs went out of their way to get GEO content in the nomination list. Which really does make one wonder what actually is the jury’s role in all this.
We reached out to GEO, but they were unavilable for a comment.
However, a source close to Geo Entertainment, pointed out that the Lux Style Awards are popular awards and as Geo Entertainment has been in the top 3 spots for the past year, both in terms of TV ratings and YouTube views, it should come as no surprise to anyone that some of the channel’s biggest dramas have been acknowledged by the awarding committee.
The Future Of Lux Style Awards
The big three of the industry; ARY Digital, Geo Entertainment, and Hum TV have the lion’s share of the audience when it comes to Pakistani television content. This is why the award show hasn’t even acknowledged let alone nominated any drama that has aired on smaller channels for the past many years. In this situation, if one channel decides to disassociate from the award show due to concerns over its jury and voting system and another channel’s critically panned content gets nominated in the categories, just how much credibility can this award show retain?
Award shows reward excellence. There’s a reason why the western actors, directors, technicians etc. wear the tag of being nominated for Emmys and Oscars as a badge of honour. Because just getting a stamp of approval from these awarding bodies in the shape of nominations means the work that they have done is worth something.Projects which get noticed by these awarding bodies are then noticed by the audience who tune in to watch the Emmy nominated shows and Oscar-nominated movies in the hopes of watching content that is truly excellent and pathbreaking.
Award shows’ nominees and wins are meant to set standards. Can the same be said about the Lux Style Awards in the 20th year of its existence? The jury doesn’t seem to be out on it for long now.