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SELSA 2006 – celebrating 50 years of Pakistani entertainment

What do you get when you take a lot of well known faces, mix them up with brand names like Lux, Sony Ericsson, Jang and Geo; dress them up in elegant designer wear and put them all under one roof for five action-packed hours? An event that every hot blooded Pakistani, whether admittedly or not, would do almost anything to get an invitation to!

SELSA (Sony Ericsson Lux Style Awards) 2006, previously known as just LSA (Lux Style Awards) was certainly not an exception. Living up to its reputation for commemorating Pakistani style by being the biggest night our fashion, film, television and entertainment industry has had to offer themselves for the last 5 years; the night was just as exhilarating as it would normally have been anticipated, with an irrefutable whiff of charm and elegance in the otherwise thick September air as everybody who’s anybody in the local fraternity made an appearance at the Expo Centre Karachi, turning it into a ephemeral galaxy of stars!

Arriving nearly an hour late for the red carpet fête I was just in time to witness almost all grand entries with the exception of those of Pakistani Sweethearts like Reema, Meera, Aminah Haq and Iman Ali to name a few I’m still pissed at myself for missing out on the chance to catch up with, all four of whom are apparently very good girls who do not believe in the power of fashionably late.

The splendor of the whole deal was conclusive, of course, and even the most unabashed of critics thought this year’s creative arrangement by Frieha Altaf was far more impressive than any of the foregoing shows, but still, if one takes on to being completely honest about the whole scenario, it wouldn’t take long to confirm it was in fact a tad grandiose with influential uncles and aunties crowding the red carpet and an annoyingly unoriginal sound of ‘who’re you wearing tonight’ hitting your ears every two seconds; and then came a point when one’s wit couldn’t help but take a quick trip to and back from ill-fated Pluto, seeing trying cleavages where they shouldn’t be and saggy underarms blatantly on display eager to prove what I’ll never know!

It wouldn’t be fair to disregard everybody’s effort to look top notch. Where there were a few fashion mishaps on the red carpet (the most prominent of them being Meera’s infamous 60s inspired (I think) pant suit—or was it a gharara!?) there were more victories that validated our designers’ unfaltering dedication to rejuvenate a chic nation that is Pakistan. Fashion saviors like Maheen Khan, Rizwan Beyg, Sonia Battla, Karma, Deepak Parwani, Nomi Ansari, Sana Safinaz, Amir Adnan, Muneeb Nawaz, HSY and Nilofer Shahid whose endeavors were either nominated or displayed at the function have all personally seen to the incorporation of a 7th sense in our cerebral arrangement which is the sense of style!

Babra Sharif, who has justly been hailed by many as the ‘youngest’ of the Lux Girl lot looked just as radiant in a black Sonia Battla dress as she did thirty years ago while romancing Nadeem on celluloid. Runa Laila shimmered in an impeccable red sari while Aminah Haq looked delectable in a honey colored Karma satin trail gown. Ayesha Omer went for the cute look in a heavily embroidered sherwani and Reema decided to play it safe by opting for a lovely Beegees affair. Tooba dared to bare in a knee length Nomi Ansari while Hadiqa wowed everyone by successfully pulling off a funky Ammar Belal combination. The woman who took home the red carpet award though was Iman Ali who looked nothing short of qualified royalty in a stunning Rouge Manan gown.

The men were less experimental with their looks; most of them quite happy in slick suits or a little bit of fusion wear from domestic prodigies like Munib Nawaz and HSY to big time labels like Hugo Boss and Giorgio Armani. Iman’s counterpart for the evening was pretty boy Abdullah Ejaz, who quite convincingly won the award for the best dressed man on the red carpet thanks to Hasan Shehryar Yasin’s knack for dressing people up so that they can go around winning such awards!

 

The show started amid a few unwarrantable blunders with the sound system and Angel Formation, a mime choreographed by Omar Rahim. Reema and Moammar Rana soon set the stage on fire with their brisk medley choreographed by Pappu Samrat venerating Pakistan’s first Lux model Melody Queen Nur Jahan by dancing and performing to some of her early hits, the most endearing of which being Chandni Raatain.

Reema’s directorial debut Koi Tujh Sa Kahan bagged the three big screen awards, including one for best film; and also the best actor and actress in a leading role, confirming her overwhelming stature and that she is still, in actual fact, the undisputable queen on Lollywood land and the hearts of many Pakistani men and women alike!

The satellite TV categories were won by Angeline Malik as best director for Lahaasil on Hum TV; Maria Wasti as best actress for Riyasat on ARY Digital which also won the best play award and Talat Hussain as best actor for his performance in Yeh Bhi Kissi Ki Beti Hai on Geo. Sassi won big in the PTV segments taking best TV play and actor award which went to Noman Ejaz. Saira Khan won the best PTV actress award for her role in Beti.

Shan was the apposite host; hinting at a consummate personal wardrobe, he is indigenously more suave than he lets on. The guy is maturing with age, which couldn’t have agreed with him more. I was just a little worried about him fidgeting and stammering though, but that too was forgivable considering how hard speaking to a live audience of crème de la crème is even for a skilled performer such as himself.

High time for me came when the lady in red hit the stage and I finally found out why they called Runa Laila a Bengali Meyna bird! The woman’s vocals are far more enticing than those of a brigade of younger singers, and her star power is still colossal, which is probably why Meera, backed by Sonu Dangerous and Farrukh Darbar dance troupes, couldn’t restrain herself from dancing ecstatically to Runa’s timeless hits like Mera Babu Chail Chabila, Tujh Jaisa Dagabaz, Kaatay Na Katay, Agar Mein Bata Doon and finally everyone’s unconditional favorite Dil Dharkay, for which Omar Rahim himself decided to join the party on the stage.

Ali Azmat’s Social Circus dominated the music award segment; bagging the best music album award and the best music video award for Saqib Malik’s revolutionary treatment of Na Re Na. Overload was adjudged the best live act, which was quite unexpected bearing in mind their fellow nominees, but then again, the award was meant for the best ‘live’ performer, and such a clause doesn’t really leave much room for consideration now does it?

The tribute for 50 years of entertainment next took us to the seventies where Nazia and Zoheb ruled the Pakistani music scene and songs like Telephone Pyar, Dosti, Jhoom, Kia Hua and Ouiee Ouiee helped people get through the day! The routine was choreographed by Omar Rahim, while Anoushey, Ayesha Omar, Ali Kazmi, Tatmain, Ifran and Omar Agha along with the Sonu Dangerous dance troupe took the audience on an unforgettable ride back to the good ‘ol yesteryears.

 

A mesmeric part of the night, without any doubt, was the fashion segment where Nilofar Shahid presented her collection to the strains of Ali Zafar’s new song Heer, which is both written and composed by Yousuf Salahuddin; to the big segment where Karma, HSY and Nomi Ansari showed off their white, black and red collections respectively to Fuzon’s standard Neend Na Aye, Hadiqa Kiyani’s effervescent Mehr Ma and Ali Azmat’s haunting Na Re Na.

Models of the year were Tooba Siddiqui and Abdullah Ejaz. Khawar Riaz won best photographer and Nabila met with a hat-trick by winning the Lux statuette for the third year in a row. Best menswear went to Amir Adnan, and Rizwan Beyg won in achievement in fashion design 10+ years category. The women’s wear segment subdivided into couture and prêt went to Karma and Sonya Battla respectively. The Best retail brand was also introduced this year and went to Khaadi. Maheen Khan was given the lifetime achievement award for her unfaltering contribution to the fashion industry and a commendable career that’s been over 38 years in the making!

The Unilever Chairman’s lifetime achievement award was presented to a quiet, wheel-chaired Mehdi Hasan who was duly was given a standing ovation on his humble acceptance of the revered silver statuette.

The night ended on a high note as an elusive Saima surprised everyone as she came dancing onto the stage, looking absolutely stunning in red, in conjunction with the Pappu Samrat dance troupe, to a popular song from Syed Noor’s latest hit Majajan. She was soon joined by a ghungroo clad Shan, who, together with his beloved stole the night away by recreating pure film magic. The huge audience was left awe struck as the twosome confirmed an eventful ending to the fifth Sony Ericsson Lux Style Awards; a night teeming with nostalgia and entertainment, plenty of style and high fashion exposé!