In this topsy-turvy world, anything is possible. Why international channels like BBC World and CNN International may even report on events in India while Indian news channels go where they have never been before — abroad. Unless of course, they’re accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi, something they didn’t do on his informal summit with the Russian President in Sochi, with the exception of WION which found the two leaders on a yacht ride, “beamed live across the world”, it said. Evidently, India inhabits another planet, since we did not see Narendra bhai beaming at brother Vladimir. Wonder if they discussed fixing the 2019 Indian elections… but we digress.
Last Friday-Saturday, BBC World and CNN International did what Indian news channels do best: Covered a single event for up to 48 hours. (Did we learn it from them — remember the continuous coverage of Prince Diana’s death?) Harry and Meghan were about to harness US-Britain relations in a splendid open air coach, which Frank Sinatra has immortalised: “Love and marriage/Love and marriage/Go together like a horse and carriage.”
Now, there’s nothing the Americans like better than a British royal wedding. And, if it happens to feature a certain beautiful lady from the United Suits of America, nothing like it. Especially, for channels like CNN which could then wear the Union Jack on its sleeve, which was better than wearing a one-piece swimsuit embossed with Prince Harry’s face in such a way that his bearded chin nestled you-know-where. Oops. Indian and foreign news channels (Fox News) marvelled at the daring of this garment design and wondered who’d wear it.
On precisely the same days, the Congress and JD(S) were trying to tie the knot of coalition politics in Karnataka. Imagine, as John Lennon advised, if our channels covered their transatlantic alliance (no, not NATO) and they came to our “mahagathbandhan”.
Let’s see now.
DD News: Since privy purses were abolished, DD has no experience of royal weddings. The closest it comes to spectacles is the Republic Day parade: “This is a historical day, a historical wedding at the historical Windsor Abbey, under a clear blue sky, perfect for a cloud fly past… thousands of thrilled royal fans wait to catch a glimpse of the Ascot Landau, one of five in the royal mews, dating back to 1883.”
ABP: The channel’s flagship show, Viral Sach analysed videos that had Markle marrying another man. The TV sleuths found the videotape was genuine and fake: Meghan as Rachel had indeed married Mike in the concluding episode of the TV series Suits.
NDTV I: Ravish Kumar was too busy tracking unemployed youth in his latest series to worry about such colonial leftovers as British royalty.
Meanwhile, CNN: Richard Quest was outside Delhi’s Supreme Court at 4 am: “There’s a race against time here in the muggy precincts of India’s premier court, to decide who will marry whom in Karnataka — a marriage which could possibly send the Sensex crashing.”
At Aaj Tak: Its daily Saas Bahu aur Betiyan announced that Bonny Prince Charlie’s decision to walk the bride down the aisle had inspired a new serial starring Kapil Sharma (since he is out of work). A working title? Kyunki Sasur Bhi Kabhi… They have still to decide what it’s about.
Friday morn, BBC World Service: “As the sun starts to rise above the skyline of Lutyens Delhi — once part of the British empire — devoted fans of JD(S) leaders Coo-mara-swamy celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to give the BJP’s Yeddy-ooo-rapa only till tomorrow to prove his majority.”
Zee News: Anchor Sudhir Chowdhary: Why is Priyanka Chopra at the wedding instead of the Pradhan Mantri of India: Is it an ISI or anti-national conspiracy?
One Hindi channel. Image of a bull: “This bull has been named Merry — as a compliment to Me(ghan) and (Ha)rry — a gift for the couple from PETA.”
BBC: Lyce Doucet, Bengaluru: “Behind me, is the hotel in Bangalore where Congress legislators are staying, ‘kidnapped’ by their own party, the BJP says. When they arrived, they looked remarkably happy and relaxed.”
CNN: “This is Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, my colleagues are in Hyderabad, New Delhi and Washington. Let me ask all of you, is this the beginning of regime change in Indian politics? Are we seeing this marriage between two old foes as transformative of the monarchy, sorry of India?”
Richard Quest: “Well, I am at the poolside of this marvellous hotel and I have just discovered that the gentleman swimming beside me is the missing Congress legislator!”
Times Now: “Who took the sparkle out of Markle’s eyes? Ladies and gentleman, why is Meghan Markle’s father not attending the wedding? Is it a conspiracy hatched by Michael Curry, a man in a hurry to play her Reverend Father at the wedding?”
Republic: “On this Super Saturday, exclusive news that Meghan Markle’s father was kidnapped by the Congress Party and hidden along with its MLAs. This is an unholy alliance to prevent a man from giving away his daughter. That is the truth and the truth is revolting.”