For the past 18 years, LUX Style Awards is the most popular awards show in Pakistan that has been celebrating Film, Fashion, Television, and Music. It is a night that weaves a grand tapestry of color, stars, on-point social messages, excellence and serves as a platform that empowers women both working in the background and the front position.
From the top team at LUX and Unilever to the director of the 2018 show, Vaneeza Ahmad, director of the 2019 show, Frieha Altaf, official styling, hair and makeup partner each year, Nabila to the Awards Manager, Fareshteh Aslam and this year’s red carpet team of Anisa and Amina Khan, the show and you will see that, is a real-life display of visionary and powerful women at work, the productivity of which is exceptional.
From the LUX Archives, more than half of the Unilever Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Awards have been gifted to women. From the likes of Noor Jahan in 2002 to Roohi Bano in 2010 to a very deserving star Shabnam now in 2019 – it is no doubt that LSA recognizes and nurtures the platform to give stars from four industries the occasion to shine annually.
Lux Style Awards 2019:
This year, there was no shortage of recognizable women who built the grand show: from Frieha Altaf as show director, to the long list of female stars performing on stage including Mehwish Hayat, Momina Mustehsan, Hina Dilpazeer along with the LUX Girls Saba Qamar, Maya Ali, Meera, to the Chairman of Unilever Shazia Syed, to the Director of Beauty and Personal Care Asima Haq, the show is a testimony to women at the forefront.
Unilever Chairman Shazia Syed set the tone when she spoke of how the LUX Style Awards have stood the test of time for 18 years, about why Unilever believes it is important to support the entertainment industry and to give back each year as she strongly emphasized the need to un-stereotype in all walks of life. She made a striking remark where she stated that the key task at hand for all of us gathered here is how to un-stereotype and make the non-traditional the new normal.
She further talked about how Unilever began their journey by first championing the right of the woman, then the rights of the differently-abled and now the rights of the transgender community to empower them and provide them with a safe space for employment. “But this is just the beginning: we need to transparently continue to un-stereotype not just in our homes but across our communities and beyond. We need to make the tough choices between selling the usual masala VS those powerful controversial messages that have the most impact.
“It is through these bold decisions that we will be able to demonstrate our bias for tolerance, inclusiveness, and freedom from stereotypes. And it is by doing this that we will become conscious and adaptable, and eventually become progressive. And this is the biggest contribution we can make to our country.”
With Shazia’s speech, the awards night kicked off on a strong note where LSA showcased the diversity, equal opportunity and freedom from the stereotype.
Fahad Mustafa introduced the first act of the night that was pop idol Momina Mustehsan featuring Eva B, the rapper who is redefining music from Lyari. The entire segment titled ‘Rukay Naa Rukay ‘was written, directed and produced by the talented Mustehsan. With statement t-shirts and powerful choreography, the act emphasized Women’s Resilience and echoed with those who are unstoppable and who rise to the occasion to give their best and scale new heights.
Momina & Eva B Performance:
At LSA 2019, Momina Mustehsan used the platform to send an important message to the women of today. Her segment centered around women creating their own opportunities with resilience and believing they are much more than someone’s perception of them. And most of all owning themselves for whatever they are – unapologetically.
According to Momina Mustehsan,
“This special segment was an ode to the strong women in our society; women who struggle in numerous aspects, yet, always manage to create opportunities and stand up for themselves. This is the first time I’m performing at LUX Style Awards and what makes it most special for me is that it revolved around the women empowerment theme. ”
Sisterhood act by Mehwish Hayat & Zara Noor Abbas:
On stage, moments of camaraderie between Mehwish Hyatt and Zara Noor Abbas were highlighted where the two Chalawa stars spoke about being strong women and how important it is for women to have each other’s backs, especially in this industry. Through their light-hearted act, they took a stand to shatter stereotypes about women fighting with each other and creating unnecessary drama whenever they work with each other. They also shed light on the idea that to move forward as an industry, women must always stand with each other and support each other through thick and thin especially in an era where cyberbullying and social media trolling is common.
Mansha’s Speech – Breaking Stereotypes:
Filmstar Mansha Pasha was another strong advocate for women. Speaking about films with ‘Laal Kabootar’ co-star Ahmed Ali Akbar,
Mansha explained that this year numerous movies were created that revealed women as brave individuals.
“Bohat si filmon mein humain larkiyon ke liye aisay roles milay jo hum screen pe bohat kam dekhtay hain. Sirf sharmeeli, dorti bhaagti, nachti gaati larki ka stereotype bohat hadd tak challenge kia gya. Ab larkiyan sirf paharon mein saarhiyan pehan kar nahi dance karteen balkay motorcycle bhi chalati hain.”
They went on to commend Pakistani actresses for the challenging and non-traditional roles that were showcased both on the big and small screens. The duo spoke about Hajra Yamin for Pinky Memsaab, to Hania Amir a young fighter pilot in Parwaz Hai Junoon, to Mehwish Hayat for her portrayal as a polio worker in Load Wedding, to Sanam and Aamina’s complex roles in Cake, to Sohai Ali Abro’s realistic portrayal of a motorcycle girl in Pakistan.
Tribute to Shabnam for the Lifetime Achievement Award (Entertainment):
The Unilever Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner was given to Shabnam who was a Lollywood icon in its heyday. For Shabnam’s tribute, a thrilling performance was then put on by the LUX girls Meera, Maya Ali, Saba Qamar. The nostalgic hits honored the famous Pakistani actress, who did her last film in the 1980s for her contribution to the industry. Each of the LUX girls paid a heartfelt tribute to the legendary actress by performing on some of her classic hits.
Meera’s act featured emerging actor Asad Siddiqui and together they put on a great sequence on Wada Karo Sajana.
The legendary Noor Jehan favorite, Chitti Zara Saiyaan Ji was beautifully performed by Maya Ali while Saba Qamar ruled the stage with her fiery number on Runa Laila’s, Mera Babu Chail Chabila.
The tribute struck an emotional note as towards the end, Atif Aslam took to the stage to sing her hit song from Aina the iconic “Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana”. The act was an emotional high as he came down from the stage singing and brought Shabnam up to the stage with him as the audience stood up in homage and clapped them both up all the way back.
Unilever Chairman, Shazia Syed handed the Lifetime Achievement Award to thunderous applause and a double standing ovation to the much-adored Shabnam, who had flown in from her home in Dhaka. Her long-time co-star Nadeem Baig Sahab and Atif Aslam accompanied her on stage.
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Unilever Chairman, Shazia Syed hands the Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary actress Shabnam with Nadeem Sahab and Atif Aslam accompanying her on stage! ✨ . . . #Oyeyeah #lifetimeachievementaward #Shabnam #NadeemBaig #atifaslam #LSA2019 @luxstylepk @ffdfly #TalkingPoint
The old classics in this segment were remixed by Sahir Ali Bagga and dance sequences choreographed by Nigah Jee. Through this tribute, LSA acknowledges women who have contributed tremendously to the industry. This further motivates more women to come out and showcase their talents unapologetically.
Tribute to Nabila + Lifetime Achievement Award (Fashion):
The second Lifetime Achievement was for fashion and this year’s recipient was hair and make-up pioneer, Nabila. Show director Frieha Altaf, who for many years has worked with Nabila to present the stylish face of the industry, gave a laudatory intro to the powerhouse that is Nabila Maqsood. She talked about how she started small yet was always determined to make her mark and how she rose to the top of the industry and is today, 33 years later, acclaimed not only in Pakistan but the world over. The award was presented to Nabila by her sons, Zair and Zahir Maqsood who paid tributes to their supermom.
Nabila has been the recipient of multiple awards from around the world, including 10 LUX Style Awards. Following her 10th win at the LSA’s, she bowed out, opting instead to encourage and train new talent and simultaneously dedicate herself to social causes.
Nabila transforms the lives of many by creating jobs on a platform that has always been nondiscriminatory. She has mentored and continues to mentor transgenders, minorities, and individuals from lower incomes and educational backgrounds, among others.
Once on stage, Nabila spoke about the power and influence of people in the room. She asked all to #DoMore with their collective social influence. She wants to use her influence to help eliminate the many vices that plague the environment and our society. This is a message that she also wants to extend to her fraternity. At the LUX Style Awards alone, the audience consists of individuals that have millions of social media followers and she urges them to bring about a collective shift.
“Let’s come together and do our bit to build a better world…A world which is diverse, inclusive, embracing and fair for all.”