|Awarded for||Excellence in cinematic achievements|
|Presented by||Nigar Publications|
|First awarded||17 July 1958 (to honor achievements of 1957)|
The Nigar Awards, the official awards of Pakistani film industry, are the oldest awards to honour the show business personalities of Pakistan. The awards were first introduced in 1958 by Ilyas Rasheedi, the editor of weekly Nigar magazine, with a purpose to recognize the achievements of those who worked in the film industry. The first award distribution ceremony was held on 17 July 1958 at Lahore's Evernew Studio. Since then, the awards were presented annually until 2004. During the 1990s the prominence of awards was eclipsed by the National Awards and later by Lux Style Awards. With the discontinuation of film making in Pakistan, the distribution of Nigar Awards is also discontinued.
Ilyas Rashidi had acquired experience in the field of entertainment journalism through his association with his elder brother Umer Azad's daily newspaper Anjum, which had just shifted its offices from Delhi to Karachi after independence of Pakistan. Ilyas Rasheedi was inspired by the Indian film magazine 'Filmfare', so he purchased a children magazine Monthly Nigar from his friend Ibne Hassan Nigar, and publish it as Pakistan's first ever film weekly from Karachi.
The first award distribution ceremony was held on 17 July 1958 at Lahore's Evernew Studios. The first Nigar award was given for the best movie Saath lakh, for the best director W.Z. Ahmed for the film Waada, for the best actor Santosh Kumar and for the best actress Sabiha Khanam.
The male artist who has received the highest number of Nigar awards is Nadeem, who had started his career in Chakori, got his first award for the same movie as the best actor. The female artist who has received the highest number of Nigar awards is Shabnam, who had started her career in Pakistani films in Aey Desh Tomar Amar (1958), got her first award for the film Chanda (1962) as the best supporting actress. The Melody Queen Noor Jahan got a total of 13 Nigar awards in her career. She got her first Nigar Award for the best playback singer in 1960.
Ilyas Rashidi had initially chosen the design of a lady statuette, but during the Islamic dictatorial rule of President General Zia-ul-Haq and his regime, the statue design changed into the present textual design.
Instead of the usual practice of envelope opening, the award committee prints the names of the winners on the back of the invitation cards that are sent to all invitees. This removes the charm of the suspenseful moments to the attendees.
Despite of this, the award committee has strict rules of only considering the candidacy of those films and television shows that are nominated for the awards and their copies are provided by the film makers or distributors to the committee.
The awards are also known for their impartial assessment and unbiased attitude as compared with other high-level awards for the media. Another prominent factor of the awards is that, over the time, various categories from both television and film industry that have been included to cover such subsets as the Urdu, Punjabi and Pushto language films.
- Best Film
- Best director
- Best script
- Best screenplay
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best supporting actor
- Best supporting actress
- Best music
- Best lyrics
- Best camera
- Best female singer
- Best male singer
- Best editing
- Best art director
- Best sound
- Best comedian
- Special award
- Ilyas Rasheedi Gold Medal for lifetime achievement.
According to chief organizer Aslam Ilyas, son of Ilyas Rashdi, the Nigar Publications is planning to return after a gap of seven years. Around 40 awards will be given in 2012, 20 of which in television's category and 20 in film's category.