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When one of their own ties the knot, the team at Pakistan’s City41 channel often includes clips of the wedding in their news segments. Unusual enough, you’d think. But when a correspondent turned up at his colleague’s wedding to film just such a clip, little did anyone expect that the groom would feel the urge to take over the reporting. The groom, Hanan Bukhari, a 25-year-old reporter for City41 and Channel 24, can be seen in the video, saying: “This is a day of great joy since it’s my wedding today.” He is dressed in wedding finery and Peshawari-style turban. To do a comprehensive job, Bukhari went on to interview his parents, mother-in-law and bride. “And now I am moving on [after his father’s interview] to the woman I was ‘Majnu’ for. It took three-four years to get her to accept my proposal,” he says. “I drove a sports car in the baraat. My baraati came on heavy bikes to beautify the wedding. What do you have to say,” he asks his bride. She answers that she’s very pleased about him fulfilling her first wish. “I hope you continue to fulfil all my wishes all of my life just like this,” she adds.
Bukhari then editorialises: “However hard a man works, hum kabhi bhi aurat ke umeedo pe pura nahi utar sakte (he can’t ever meet all of a woman’s expectations).”This startling image of a groom professionally interviewing his bride on their wedding day, in all their wedding finery, has resonated with audiences across the world, feels Abdul Hameed Naqibi, Bukhari’s senior colleague. “When we uploaded the video after the live broadcast, none of us expected it would get over a lakh views in a single night,” he says. The newly-wed is from Faisalabad in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Bukhari’s cheery disposition, feels Naqibi, is a reflection of the city’s people. “People here are known for their sense of humour. You’ll find many Kapil Sharmas here,” says Naqibi, referring to the comedy show host on Indian television. Bukhari is a man trying to strike a balance between two worlds. While Naqibi confirms that Bukhari constantly searches for creative ways to make his reports interesting, he is also pursuing a doctorate in biotechnology “Parents wanted me to be a doctor, I wanted to be a part of the media fraternity,” he says. Despite making her something of a celebrity through his interview, Bukhari is protective of his wife’s identity — he is reluctant to reveal her name. “Could we just call her Mrs Hanan,” he requests, moving quickly on to talking about how they met in class a few years ago. Like him, “Mrs Hanan” is also studying for a doctorate in biotechnology. Some have seized this opportunity to take a potshot at the quality of journalism in Pakistan, citing another news clip where a reporter, Chand Nawab, is seen shoving passersby out of the frame and taking multiple takes to deliver one line while reporting from Karachi’s railway station on Eid. Another clip shows journalist Amin Hafeez interviewing a buffalo about over-head bridges. “You have just come down the steps of the bridge, was this tough or easy?” he asks the buffalo. (She moos in response.) But Bukhari’s video has its supporters too. Pakistani columnist Mosharraf Zaidi, for instance, said, “The City 41 reporter covering his own wedding is a postmodern Pakistani treasure.” And Bukhari’s colleague, Naqibi, believes that the world sees only a few versions of Pakistan. And that Hanan’s light-hearted and honest video report is, in a way, “a window to some of the colours of Pakistan.”