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How to manage the clock at events that depend on celebs turning up on time…and other impossible expectations.

Celebrities carry a bit of a bride in their hearts; they feel that ‘this’ occasion or ‘that’ occasion is their special day and the whole world should be ready and waiting as they make a grand entry. Sometime it feels that they imagine themselves akin to royalty that glides in with several minions holding their majestic trails. One wouldn’t mind treating them like royalty if they turned up on time, which they never do.

To be fair, and I keep the recently concluded Lux Style Awards in mind as I write this, stars and celebrities aren’t the only ones who impact the lateness of a show. Sure, not many barring Javed Sheikh, Zohaib Kazi, Ali Noor, Mai Dhai and the Khumariyaan boys amongst others turned up on time (the red carpet time was 6pm), but there were other unfortunate elements in play as well.

Divide and rule on time

The LSAs were a tiny show when they started out 15 years ago. Half the current categories did not exist back then and television and film segments were extremely limited. There were years when there was no film to celebrate at all. In those years the focus lay on fashion and style alone. The landscape has changed and the way things are going it’ll just become vaster with time. The cinema-scape is growing and television is a force to reckon with. Music has a whole new indie scene to celebrate. None of this can be ignored. Therefore it’s time the LSAs were bifurcated with fashion awards held on a separate day. It could be like the IIFA Weekend, where technical awards are given out at IIFA Rocks and the popular film awards at the main IIFA show. It would be a costly but sensible solution to shaving hours off one overbearingly long evening.

Pre-record performances

I haven’t been to the Oscars but I know that the Filmfares we see on TV are not the Filmfares on ground. The live audience is treated to three or four performances but is spared having to sit through endless acts. The LSAs featured almost a dozen live acts this year. This means that each time the set had to be tweaked and then cleaned up after the act. Did we really have to see four different dance sequences by Farhan Saeed and Urwa Hocane? Did we have to sit through a segment devoted to Fawad Khan that did not even feature him? The answer is no, we didn’t. These acts could easily have been pre-recorded and again, several hours could have been saved in setting them up and carrying them out.

Limit the speech time

It may appear a little rude but believe me when I say that certain celebrities get carried away with their acceptance speeches. They need to be curtailed and as practiced at the Oscars, music needs to drown them out when they exceed their given time.

Fahad Mustafa and Javed Sheikh

10:23pm: Javed Sheikh and Fahad Mustafa in the main show area at the LSAs. The show didn’t start for another forty minutes

After-party attraction

One reason why an event like the LSAs drags endlessly is because people know there is no time limit and it can afford to end as late as need be. A handful of celebrities will still have the energy to go party at Humayun Saeed’s house (at 6am) but most people will just go back home and collapse in exhaustion, maybe even before the show ends. It was unfortunate that someone like Javed Sheikh, punctual as ever, left before his award was announced because things were running preposterously late. Not many people stuck around for Mahira’s finale, which was performed post 3am.  And that’s a pity. I strongly feel that there needs to be a cut-off point for an event like an award show and that cut off point needs to be defined by an equally glamorous and prestigious activity, like a post-show winners’ dinner or something. The Oscars are followed by a Vanity Fair party, an event that is as high on the A-list as the Oscars themselves. When people know they have to be at a Winner’s Dinner/After Party at 11pm, they will make an extra effort to turn up on time.

Case in point: There is a desperate need for time management at award shows, fashion weeks and even events as simple as press conferences. Organizers say that the responsibility lies mainly on celebrities that never appear on time or even on the media, that is often late. There was a little bit of it all at the LSAs but then again, it’s something that must be countered and controlled.


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