On the eve of Saturday, September 17, I attended a star-studded Meet & Greet event at Royal Palm. The guest of honour was the pride of Pakistan, our very own Amir “King” Khan. While I wasn’t particularly keen to attend the event, the temptation of taking a selfie with THE Amir Khan proved irresistible!
And thus Saturday evening found me making a “fashionably” late appearance at the venue just minutes before the King himself arrived. It is a proof of our Pakistani mentality that an event that was supposed to begin at 7 PM, didn’t kick-start until two hours later.
The night was a smashing success. The layout was ace, with warm, vibrant and imitate décors, with celebrities mixing and mingling into crowds. Sting was the main sponsor, so guests were served Sting shots throughout the evening. Scrumptious bite snacks were displayed in all their splendour for foodies like myself to gorge on.
The venue—Bab-ul-Shams—had been divided into 3 sections: the backstage; the media wall & activity area; and the area where the main event was held. Usually, such functions are like fish markets, noisy and jam-packed with unruly crowds. But this one was markedly different, perhaps because it was pretty small and exclusive. A big plus here was that separate seating had been installed for the blogging community, but I guess Pakistanis are Pakistanis no matter what the setting, because people still came and stood right in front of the audience every now and then, blocking their view of the stage and causing a ruckus.
Our hosts for the evening were Ali Safina and Anoushey Ashraf, and I must say the duo truly outdid themselves. Not only were they excellent and proper hosts, but their humour was so infectious they soon had the guests in stitches. During the Meet & Greet, various celebrities were invited on stage to answer some trick questions and to enjoy some exclusive time with Amir Khan.
Unfortunately, some of the stars were rather unrefined and vulgar on stage. One name in particular comes to mind. Actress Ushna Shah made a cheap spectacle of herself by openly flirting with Amir Khan. It was truly cringe-worthy to watch!
Another celeb who created an embarrassing spectacle was Adeel Chaudhry, who sang “Dil Dil Pakistan” with Amir Khan. During the song, Chaudhry hogged the mic and crooned 99% of the song himself, graciously allowing Amir Khan to add in a few words here and there. I felt it was very uncivilized of Chaudhry to steel the limelight in this way. He should have instead shared the mic with Amir Khan, who is admittedly a bathroom singer and doesn’t feel comfortable singing in public.
Thankfully, others stars had better class. Cybil Chowdhry was charming and friendly. It was fun seeing her “walk the ramp” with Amir Khan. Munib Nawaz was a true gentleman. He offered a polite apology when he incorrectly answered a question related to Amir Khan. The designer even presented Khan with a smart jacket monogrammed with the initials “AK”.
Shoaib Malik entertained the audience with his hilarious impersonation of Amir Khan. The cricketer donned a boxing jacket and pretended to walk up the stage surrounded by burly bodyguards. The two sportsmen held a mock cricket match which was a lot of fun to watch. Amir Khan then gave some boxing tips to sports enthusiasts and showcased some of his signature moves.
The audience was equally involved in the night’s festivities. The hosts asked the crowd trick questions and some lucky fans won gloves and other memorabilia personally signed by Amir Khan upon giving correct answers.
When Amir Khan left, the crowd’s enthusiasm dimmed considerably. The hosts then announced a performance by the band Call, but it seemed the guests were more interested in either gossiping among themselves or preparing to leave as well. Anoushey, being the amazing host she is, finally announced that Amir Khan would be attending the performance as well, upon which the crowd’s spirits buoyed up again. Actually, the boxer had taken his leave but was specially requested to remain specially for the performance. And so Amir Khan sat among the audience while Call mesmerized us with their soulful lyrics.
The evening ended on a highly successful note. Every detail was spot-on, from the décor to the entertainment and, of course, the guestlist! A special shout-out to Sting for sponsoring a glamorous event in honour of a young Pakistani who truly deserves to be celebrated!