Istanbul ‘dazzled’ by Pakistan’s big screen award ceremony

ANKARRA: Big names in the film industry dazzled the audience Sunday evening at a mega ceremony in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul to honour its best.

The fourth edition of the star-studded International Pakistan Prestige Awards (IPPA) was held with the participation of Pakistani and Turkish officials, actors, directors and producers.

Actors Adnan Siddiqui, Iqra Aziz, Meera, Hania Amir and Sonya Hussyn were among the celebrities who attended the awards in addition to producers and other film industry staff from the nation.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said Pakistan and Turkey are “working to bridge the gap” in the film industry.

“Pakistan and Turkey started this journey of love and solidarity ever since the Khilafat Movement,” Ismail told the audience, referring to help extended by Muslims of South Asia to Turkey during its war of independence after World War-I.

“Istanbul is close to our hearts,” he said to a rousing reception from the audience as the hall glittered with red and green colours while the national anthems of the two countries were played.

“We take love from Istanbul when we return to our homes […] We take inspiration from each other’s culture, and now we are trying joint projects in the film industry.”

“This is the biggest, star-studded and only independent Pakistani international awards event that recognizes Pakistani talent in the fields of music, fashion, television and films and celebrates them overseas, in order to improve the image of Pakistan on a global platform,” the IPPA Awards notes on its website.

‘Govt to provide good platform to film stars’

Ismail, a senior member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the “stars of the industry need a good platform.”

“It is the responsibility of the government to provide such a platform for this honourable profession,” he said, adding “Pakistan and Turkey will together provide a good platform to our stars who are no less than anyone else in the world’s film industry.”

He said exchange programs and joint projects in the film industry between the two countries “will help us learn, exchange experiences, surge viewership and reinforce our industry.”

Held on the banks of the Golden Horn, a major urban waterway in Istanbul, with “sweet” Urdu songs playing in the background, droves of Turkish and Pakistani big-screen fans and Pakistan expatriates living in Turkey and their families were seen making their way to meet the visiting Pakistani actors and taking selfies and family photos with them.

Ahmet Misbah Demircan, Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, while addressing the participants spoke on the historic relations between the two countries.

Shanaz Ramzi, Public Relations Officer for IPPA, told Anadolu Agency that the event was held twice in the United Kingdom and once in Norway. The inaugural edition was held in London in 2017.

“Because of our close cultural and historic ties with Turkey, the IPPA Awards had been scheduling the Istanbul edition for the past two years,” she said, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the event until today.

Ramzi said the Pakistani people have “developed a love for Istanbul, especially because of the Ertugrul Ghazi drama series.”

The Turkish production of Ertugrul Ghazi earned a heroic status in Pakistan after the Pakistan Television broadcast a version in Urdu.

Within days of the first broadcast, the fan following for the series and its actors surged, especially for Engin Altan Duzyatan.

Often described as a Turkish Game of Thrones, the series tells the story before the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in 13th century Anatolia. It illustrates the struggle of Ertugrul Gazi, the father of the empire’s first leader.

“The IPPA Awards showcases the positive side of Pakistan, and we would like our Turkish friends and counterparts to visit Pakistan like we are doing,” she said.

The IPPA Awards on the occasion also honoured successful Pakistan national businessmen in Turkey.

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