Nigar Awards explained
The 47th Nigar Awards are coming back after 12 years but the nominations have left people scratching their heads.
2016 was a record breaking year for Pakistani cinema: 34 local releases hit theaters and several films recorded strong box office collections; Actor in Law raked in over 20 crores and Janaan earned over 15 crores. While box office numbers are important, films should not only be judged solely on the business they generate, as can be seen in the case of the critically acclaimed Mah-e-Mir which tanked at the box office but won praise from critics and was Pakistan’s official entry to the Academy Awards.
However, there are some films that neither generate box office figures nor do they appeal to critics and somehow those films have regrettably picked up nominations for the 47th Nigar Awards, scheduled to take place this year.
How can a film like Blind Love bag four nominations including Best Screenplay? Here are some equally disturbing observations: Wajahat Rauf’s Lahore Se Agay bagged more nominations than Dobara Phir Se. Hareem Farooq didn’t even get acknowledged for her riveting performance in DPS but Armeena Khan got a nomination for her role in Janaan? There are many more questions one can ask regarding the Nigar nominations, which is why the Nigar team hosted a dinner in an attempt to clarify what’s going on.
“We are just as confused as you guys are, believe us,” said PR spokesperson Shehnaz Ramzi at the dinner that included the entire team of Nigar Awards and a whole lot of perplexed journalists and bloggers.
Kashif Warsi, Managing Director for Nigar, explained how the list of nominations has been constructed. He explained that the readers of the Nigar magazine send in their votes by filling out a form that is available in the magazine. “We’ve gotten votes from all sorts of remote places in Pakistan and we truly want to make this a platform driven by the people.”
What is also worth noting is that Nigar Awards is the only independent film award ceremony that is not associated with any production house or TV channel, which means that all films will have a fair chance of winning. “We will even be incorporating regional films,” shared Nigar Chairman Aslam Ilyas.
However, the most important question to consider at the moment is this: what is the circulation of Nigar nowadays? Warsi shared that currently the magazine has a circulation of 7000 copies weekly, which is not a very large figure one may point out. Warsi did assure us that a digital platform will also be available for voting so that the fate of the awards isn’t only in the hands of Nigar readers.
The credibility of these awards remains to be seen and will only be apparent once the actual awards are held and winners announced. Until then, we can wait and watch.