Most collaborations between Pakistan and our neighbour India are welcomed and appreciated, most of the times. While culture on both sides of the border is similar, there are unique elements that cause curiosity and there’s always interest in projects that bring the two countries together and this has held especially true for film, music and also fashion.
However, it’s also true that our entertainment industry bears the brunt of tricky political relations when our actors are banned by Indian film producers and our singers get pulled out of big budget Indian productions.
That is why Shaan-e-Pakistan, an initiative that brought together artists from both countries, mainly got positive publicity from Pakistani media. Their second year in Lahore received mixed reviews for an event that ran relatively smooth with names like Rekha Bhardwaj and Zeenat Aman in attendance, save for some inevitable delays and organizational hiccups. Building on the goodwill and connections established over time in both countries, Huma Nassr of Braahti – who has spearheaded the initiative - has now announced the third edition in Karachi, next month.
Instep got in touch with the designer to find out what to expect this time around, since relations between India and Pakistan are presently not at their best.
“This Luxury Prive’ Edition will bring together the best in fashion to the platform,” Huma Nassr said. Last year’s criticism centered on the fact that the same three-day platform cannot hope to showcase the ‘best’ in fashion and music. To up their fashion quotient from last year, they’ve brought the very dramatic, maverick designer Ali Xeeshan on board as Creative Director.
“Ali is known for his very theatrical fashion presentations and has a loud aura which goes well with the concept of Shaan-e-Pakistan. We’ve seen his fashion week shows and would like to give Shaan-e-Pakistan some of that flavour. This time we want the fashion element to be stronger than before,” says Nassr. Ali Xeeshan is taking care of two days of show direction and choreography and Liza Verma from India will be joining him as a parallel show director.
As for the music, the three-day event will open with Shaan-e-Pakistan’s ‘Ek Shaam Pakistan ke Naam’ night which focuses on musical collaborations between artists from India and Pakistan. The same night in 2015 was headlined by the late Amjad Sabri and the year after in Lahore by Indian music maestro Rekha Bhardwaj. This year they have Javed Bashir curating the music in an orchestral format with an Indian musician headlining the event, who will be announced later.
On how they hope to up last year’s show Nassr adds, “Each time we aim for stronger content so this year Javed Bashir has created a song for Shaan-e-Pakistan. For the fashion section we will get a renowned stylist on board so when fashion designers come on board they have someone overlooking everything.”
According to Nassr, the across border talent that’s confirmed for the event is Anju Modi - the designer for Bajirao Mastani and Meera and Muzzafar Ali. Nassr also lets on that Sushmita Sen will be present, someone from the team’s been trying to invite to Pakistan since last year.
It hasn’t been a breeze putting together the event but Nassr’s determination to put together the event year after year is heartening. We asked her how difficult it’s been to see it through in the face of tumultuous relations between the two countries. She explains, “I’ve been working in India for a couple of years and this is just me expanding on my brand Braahti, that’s been in India for years. However, most people associate Shaan-e-Pakistan with India but it’s a platform born out of Pakistan where we hope to bring international flavour. The goal is to eventually take it to the Middle East.”
The third edition was originally scheduled to be held in January in New Delhi but
the sensitive climate
between Pakistan and India led the organizers to postpone it. “Security is a major concern for us and people don’t realize that there is a huge effort that goes into what you see on stage. We try to remember that fashion connects people to people and try not to focus on politics.”
Time will tell whether Shaan e Pakistan’s team can improve on the criticism from the year before and truly showcase the shaan of Pakistan. The event is set to take place from Spetember 6 to 8 in Karachi.