With the recent furor surrounding the ARY Film Awards and MD Films deciding not to let Bin Roye participate, movie buffs and critics sat and raised their brows; first at MD Films for being such spoilsports and then at ARY Films too because what could've led MD Films to take the not-so-popular decision.
So, to clear the air HIP spoke to ARY films' Vice President Marketing, Asfand Yar to know about the transparency of entire process. The VP maintained that the ARY Film Awards are audited by independent bodies, just too keep the process streamlined.
"In our first award ceremony too, held in 2013, we made sure the awards were audited. That's just an added precaution because we don't want people pointing fingers at us after the award ceremony," he said.
Asfand Yar further explained that hiring auditors has its benefits and setback. The benefit is that no one can point fingers at the body and the con is that sometimes the films you expect to win don't make it.
There are auditors in place to keep a check on all the votes coming in from the viewer's choice categories and also voting done by the jury members. The next question naturally was about the jury.
Why not disclose the jury members and put an end to all the ambiguity?
"The jury isn't disclosed. That's the norm worldwide and there is a reason behind it. The jury has members from the industry and if we disclose their names then their friends and people they know might try to influence them," ARY Films' representative explained.
"The jury is watching the films as we speak. They'll then decide the nominations for every category and we'll announce them," he further added.
How do we know that the jury isn't biased?
The jury has not been given any names for any category. The sheets, given to jury members, include categories like Best Actor, Best Film, and so on. The final nominations (names) will be added on the sheets by the members themselves after the preview session.
As is the case worldwide, the technical awards (for best screenplay, choreography, editing, etc.) will be decided by the jury only and winner for popular choice awards, including mainstream categories such as best actor, actress, director, and film, will be selected through online and sms voting.
Hiring third party auditors has secured ARY Film Awards in the sense that no one can point fingers at them. And even if somebody does that, those fingers will be diverted towards the auditors who'll then do all the explaining.
But why create such a hullabaloo before an event which celebrates Pakistani cinema's re-emergence - the thing we had all been waiting for. The problem lies with the name of the awards only. 'ARY' Film Awards suggest that the ceremony is going to favour ARY's own productions. It just comes across that way.
The solution is to have award ceremonies sponsored and conducted by third party organizations like magazines (like Bollywood's Filmfare, orStar Dust awards) or an independent body (case in point Hollywood's Academy Awards and Bollywood's IIFA). Pakistan had its own Nigar Awards back in the day, but they fizzled out with our old cinema industry.
It's about time that Nigar Awards re-emerge and then every single production house can participate in peace without any doubt in their mind.
However, we need to keep in mind that even in India all awards are now linked with channels who also own film studios such as the Star Screen Awards, Colors Star Dust Awards, Sony Filmfare, and so on. All these channels are into film business and despite that all big banners allow their films to be part of the award ceremony.
If we want to mature as an industry then we need to be part of the change and trust each other.