02 Mar, 2018

76 musicians are coming together for the #MeinBhi segment at LSA 2018

We may just have to pack in some tissues with us when we head off to see the Lux Style Awards (LSAs) in Lahore tomorrow.

For if there’s anything Frieha Altaf knows how to do, it’s how to put up a show and she’s planning to make this year’s ceremony an absolute tearjerker.

And we’re not talking about the nominees who can’t stand losing and have to quickly leave the hall while dabbing at their eyes. While losing an award can certainly make one sad, we’re looking at the bigger picture here and the message that the show plans to deliver.

It’s no secret that the LSAs are skipping out on the usual song and dance performances and veering towards socially relevant territory. This year’s show, directed by Vaneeza Ahmed, is going to provide a platform for the launch of #MeinBhi, a campaign helmed by Frieha Altaf that stands for the protection of human rights, started off in partnership with Calpak Education Services. But this does not mean that the show is going to drone on with well-meaning lectures on rights and wrongs.

The opening act will feature a performance by Kathak impresario Nahid Siddiqui. The finale, meanwhile, is being planned out as a grand musical extravaganza. “There will be 76 musicians on the stage together, singers and members of the orchestra,” describes Frieha.

“They will be performing to Shehzad Roy’s song ‘Uth bandh kamar kya darta hai phir dekh khuda kya karta hai’. We want to make the song an anthem that does not belong to any one show or any one platform but which empathises with every organisation working for human rights. We want to make it magical with a full-blown orchestra with different instruments playing the music; sitar, tabla, flute, violins, trumpets, et al.”

The singers coming on stage are going to be a mix of the old and the new. Up and coming musical acts like the Kashmir Band, Pindi Boys, Badnaam and Lyari Underground will be accompanying some of local music’s most well-known: Zoe Viccaji, Farhan Saeed, Abu Fareed Qawwal, Fuzon, Humera Channa, Aima Baig, Natasha Baig, Mohsin Abbas Haider and Shehzad Roy among them.

“Each and every one of these performers agreed to be part of the segment free of cost, in order to extend their support to the movement,” says Frieha. We’re left guessing if some of the big names that are evidently missing in the lineup were simply too busy to be part of the segment or asked for too much money for participation!

During the performance, various activists will be emerging from amongst the audience, holding placards. For instance, Ansar Burney will step out holding a placard that addresses human trafficking, Mukhtaran Mai will stand for the need to quell honour killings, Musarrat Misbah will represent her lifelong quest to support acid burn victims. She will be followed by 10 of the victims.

“There are survivors who will have their faces covered and others who won’t because some of them aren’t allowed by their families to reveal their faces lest they should get targeted,” says Frieha. “Some of them will be wearing T-shirts with the telephone number of the emergency hotline that the Human Rights Organization has set up in Pakistan,” says Frieha.

Also amongst the people who will be stepping out from amongst the audience will be designer Maheen Khan. The designer will also be giving out white hibiscus flowers at the red carpet in order to show solidarity with the campaign.

“It needs to make impact and initiate conversations in the right direction,” says Frieha, “and it needs to be memorable.”

Will this very different LSA ceremony making a turnaround from the usual festivities, manage to be memorable? We’ll know on the 20th of this month!