Chatting with Nida Butt – the Show Director of HUM Style Awards 2016

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So those of you who were lucky enough to secure a pass for the recently held HUM Style Awards in Karachi (or were glued to the screens for Livestream) would give us a nod when we say that this was easily the most amazzzzzing Award show that our showbiz Industry has seen so far (Filmfare who?). From the most well-choreographed & coordinated dance performances , that made us dance in our seats , to the custom designed costumes (dancers dont have to look like Golla-gandas) , to the hosting (Read: Ali Butt’s tongue in cheek humor & aamina Sheikh’s cricket commentary) to the overall theme of the show (the stage / music / opening act which was very Musical in look n feel) – everything came together in perfect harmony !! Kudos to this one woman who was at the helm of it all – the show Director , and our dear friend – Nida butt !

Nida Butt HUM Style Awards 2016

For those of you not familiar with her, Nida is not new to the industry – she has been acting in, Directing & choreographing theatre shows for many years now (and perhaps that was one of the reasons why the flavour of the award show was not so filmi – if you know what we mean).

So we sat down with her after the show and spoke to her about how she put it all together together & whats up next:

AWA: Tell us a little about how you got into theatre and direction ?

Never went to school for it !! I come from a non performing arts background. Despite that, ever since I was a child I had the dancing bug in me- and the love for that eventually pushed me into Arts. My previous profession was that of a human rights lawyer. After returning from England with an LLM degree, I did practice for a couple of years here. But not for long ; after I acted in a local play, I decided to take a shot at doing my own Production and “Made for Stage” Productions was born…..since then, I never looked back.

AWA: So tell us – How did HUM Style Awards happen?

Pretty simple! They approached me and asked me to create and direct the entire show for them . I had complete creative control from HUM’s side & we began the script writing in July. It was a daunting project at the onset; 5 Performances in total (so 40 minutes of kick ass routines required ), 21 Awards and hardly any rehearsal days , when compared to what we do for our own Musicals. Throw in the fact that you were working with a lot of celebrities added a taste of spice to it . It was a monster of a Show , and I thank my team for being such troopers and making it all happen.

AWA: The choreography, the costumes, the music – everything was very well done ; refreshingly local and non-bollywood. Could you tell us how you went about designing the look and feel for the show

I broke it up performance by performance.

Of course dance remains the staple for Awards shows , but I really wanted to add in more of a theatrical element to it all to diversify the entertainment for the evening. We mixed  it up between Singing Performances , Dance performances & added a dash of Theatre to it as well. some which had both elements.

Perhaps the most challenging number conceptually was the Opening Act . For that we had chosen the genre of Jazz. The track was  especially composed for the Hum Awards by Hamza Jafri. It’s such a catchy tune that’s it’s hard not to fall in love .I wanted to keep it classy & subtle but with enough pizzaz & glamour to keep the audience enamoured . Jafri and I chose to have no “desi” sounds, & keep the sound Big Band. After that  defining the look ,costumes and the rest of it became easy.

HUM Style Awards 2016

HUM Style Awards 2016

AWA: and that Opening Act gave us goose bumps !!! So how did you choose the dancers and songs?

It wasn’t easy to make the cut to the performing troupe . Even two weeks into rehearsals I had to cut a couple of dancers who were just not performing upto the mark. We do expect perfection and anyone who doesn’t have the skill or the enthusiasm , has gotta go .

AWA: Which celebs made for the best dancers and co workers

I’m not allowed to say that! But I will say , the best celeb is the one who shows up on time , takes there work dead seriously , does their homework and brings their A-Game , and most importantly trusts their Director – all the while leaving their ego at the door. I do expect a lot, but promise to give you as much in return.HUM Style Awards 2016

AWA: When did you guys start with the rehearsals and how were they like? Timing wise, pressure wise. Are you a tough task master

We rehearsed for just 5 weeks which is honestly very little time ,when you consider the scale and expectations. We did 9 hour rehearsals , and simultaneously were managing the production aspect – costumes , Props , SMD designs , and lots more . It was definitely an intense month.

One has To be a Task master when working with such  a large and diverse ensemble . Sadly our industry isn’t as professional as I would want it it to be , so as the Director one has to set high standards and push the Team to meet them.

HUM Style Awards 2016

HUM Style Awards 2016

AWA: What would you do differently if given a chance

Half the show ! Obviously when you look back and view things , some things work for you and others don’t. There’s always room for improvement right ?

AWA: hahaha….We loved it regardless !! What would you say to aspiring dancers and choreographers

Stay focused on your task .Always plan till the end. Aim for the stars & try new and unique ideas . Don’t don’t don’t use Bollywood as your inspiration. Aim for the stars so even when you fall slightly short , it is still enough to wow your audience.

AWA: So what’s next on the cards?

Bradri Broadcast launch which is at end of this month , by husband Hamza Jafri . It’s a desi orchestra . Plus the “I am Karachi” Music festival is scheduled for March 2017. Our Lyari stars program is also ongoing and is scheduled to finish by December 15th.

I’m itching to do a non musical play , so want to find time for that too somewhere. Few offers have come my way , but haven’t locked anything concrete yet. Cheers to 2017 being an amazing year !!!

Cheers to that Nida , and we’ll be looking forward to many more amazing projects of yours ….

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