That’s what we call achievement!

Pappu Saein, Reshma and Shoaib Mansoor
In the President’s Awards ceremony held at the Governor’s House (Lahore) on March 23 (Pakistan Day), a couple of the industry’s biggest players were brought into a limelight of another kind – a kind they’re not quite used to! Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan received the Presidential Award, Atif Aslam and Zulfiqar Ali alias Pappu Saein received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and vocalist Reshma along with film director Shoaib Mansoor received the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz.
Shafqat Amanat Ali, of course, is the fifth member of his family to be honoured by the government. Those whose footsteps he is walking in are his father Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, his uncle Hamid Ali Khan and his brother Asad Amanat Ali Khan. Shafqat is proud to be the fifth in row. And for all youngsters who’ve been enthralled by his voice, from Fuzon to ‘Mitwa’ believe its well-deserved.
Atif Aslam received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, which refers to the honour he has brought to Pakistan by performing in almost 25 countries last year. Atif is very patriotic and believes there could be no honour bigger than bringing pride to the country. His vocals are undeniably brilliant, but he believes it’s his patriotism that has brought him the award.

Pappu Saein, also the recipient of the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz is Pakistan’s most famous dhol player. He has played at the Royal Albert Hall as well as at the Pakistan Day Parade at the Trafalgar Square in London last year. Instrumental rock band Overload may have brought him to the limelight, but it is his strong percussion that lends so much soul to the band, rather than the other way around.

Reshma’s contributions to building the music industry may seem like long forgotten but apparently the government remembers. We celebrate our musicians’ success in India, especially Bollywood these days, but it is actually Reshma that lent her voice to the soul stirring ‘Lambi Judaai’ for the film Hero, back in the eighties. The film, that marked the debuts of Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi made this song an anthem. And in the Dimpla Kapadia starrer Lekin, the song ‘Yaara Seeli Seeli’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar was a plagiarized version of Reshma’s Punjabi folk song, ‘Ni Main Seeli Seeli’. She truly is an unsung hero of Pakistan’s music industry.

Shoaib Mansoor’s honour needs no explanation. With Khuda Kay Liye, the groundbreaking director did what many others had been contemplating for years. Not that they would have succeeded the way he has. With the film opening in India this weekend, he has flung the reputation of Pakistan’s film industry out of the woodwork and straight into the limelight. A revolutionary theme and an equally riveting film, Shoaib Mansoor deserves this more than anyone else