Usman Mukhtar & Zunaira Inam Khan Say ‘Qubool Hai’
The heartthrob and talented actor/director Usman Mukhtar got married earlier this month to the gorgeous and lovely Zunaira Inam Khan. The Nikkah event was a scaled-back affair with the bride and groom in masks along with guests following SOPs due to the third covid-19 wave. HELLO! spoke to the couple about how they met, what they enjoyed most at their own wedding and what they love about each other. Presenting Usman and Zunaira together for the first time ever..
1. Congratulations on your wedding. What’s your journey been like from engagement to marriage?
Our Baat Pakki happened in December, which was essentially our engagement and then the rings were exchanged at the Nikkah. Because I was shooting a film in December and then also a drama in Karachi, Zunaira kind of took over and arranged most of the stuff. I'm really glad that she took care of all of that. The journey wasn't that long from engagement to Nikkah, it was about three months. However, a-lot had to be done during those months and the covid situation started getting really bad so there were moments of panic and uncertainty but Alhamdullilah we managed somehow.
2. Tell us how did you two meet? Was there an instant connection or you took your time with it?
Usman: We met through a close
mutual friend of ours, I actually had to meet her and she decided to bring a friend along (who turned out to be Zunaira). What I liked about her (and it kills me to say this haha) is that she has a really great sense of humour. We also initially bonded over a shared love of horror movies. We hit it off very quickly but we were friends for a long time and I believe any relationship is strengthened if the foundation is a really solid friendship.
3. Zunaira what was your first impression of Usman? When did you feel he’s the one?
Zunaira: My first impression of Usman was that he was very strange. (Laughs)His sense of humour is something you have to get used to and he uses it very very frequently. His love for crocs was also something I had to reconcile myself with and since I didn't know him, my first impression was that he was a very eccentric, strange person. But Usman grows on you and I have genuinely never met anyone funnier than him. He is also really really intelligent and that was a very important thing for me. There wasn't one single moment where I had an epiphany about him being the one, gradually I think we just realised that we didn't enjoy anyone else's company as much as we did each other's.
4. Pardon us for being nosy here but could you tell us a bit about the proposal? How did Usman propose?
Zunaira: Honestly, I don't think
either one of us is a big, romantic proposal type of person. It was just a gradual development where once it was apparent that we had this connection, we just decided to get the families involved and go about this properly and officially.
5. Zunaira, the internet is very curious to know about you. Tell us a bit about yourself
Zunaira: This is probably the most difficult question to answer since I am intensely private. However, the basics are that I am working as a Research Analyst in the areas of International Relations, International Law, Foreign Policy and Human Rights, that's also what my educational qualifications are in. I am as far removed from the industry as one can be, I am intensely shy and even this interview is giving me anxiety. However, I respect Usman's path in life and I would like to support him in any way I can, luckily he doesn't crave attention either so it works out for us. I am a self professed nerd, I read more books than I can keep track of, I love everything historical/ vintage, I am obsessed with horror movies, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
6. What is that one quality that you admire about your partner and one habit you’d like to change?
Usman: What I like about Zunaira is that she is extremely hardworking and motivated. She knows the path she wants to be on regarding her career and I admire her ambition and dedication. I also like that I can rely on her always. If I need advice or an opinion, she's the person I go to and I can be sure that she will tell me exactly what's on her mind. One habit I'd like to change is that she's addicted to her phone, even mid conversation you look at her and she's on her phone.
Zunaira: What I admire about Usman is his devotion to his family. He will go to the ends of the earth for his family and the people he is closest to. He is also so passionate about his work and it's really incredible to hear him speak about it and hear the ideas that he wants to bring to life through his directorial ventures. One habit I'd like to change is his absolute disregard for any sense of dress codes. For example, there was a post-Nikkah brunch to which you'd expect a person to at-least wear pants, Usman showed up in basketball shorts, crocs and a ninja turtles t-shirt. My father is ex-air force so he wasn't very amused. (Laughs)
7. How long were you both in the planning stages of the wedding?
Since there was only a Nikkah event and the actual wedding will be in December so we didn't really have that much to plan. However, we had three months between the Dua-e- Khair and the Nikkah which seems like a-lot of time but the covid uncertainties really added a layer of stress.
8. How did you deal with the whole process of scaling back your wedding events because of the third covid-19 wave?
Usman: I dealt with it fine and came up with solutions while Zunaira panicked.
Zunaira: It was difficult trying to come up with a solution where we could have our family be a part of the event and have the event as safely and responsibly as we could. We would have actually postponed the Nikkah but my and Usman's family members had already arrived for the event from different places and they wouldn't have been able to get that time off again so we had to improvise and devise feasible solutions. Which was a really difficult task and pretty stressful but MashAllah we managed to pull it off really well.
9. What would you have done differently?
Usman: In an ideal situation we would have had a slightly bigger event with all our close friends and even extended family that we couldn't invite because events like these aren't complete without friends and family.
What was the most important moment for you at your wedding? The most important moment for both of us would probably be the signing of the papers. The realization really hits you that this is real and official now, it's a life changing moment.
10. Zunaira did you have any significant bridezilla moment or were you calm throughout?
I genuinely thought that I wouldn't have any bridezilla moment as I'm usually quite zen but there were moments, nearing the date, where I lost my cool. I think it was the stress of changing the date, making sure everyone could make it (guests, event decorators, photographers etc), and ensuring that the event was safe for everyone attending. Usman was wonderful in just letting me have those panicked moments and then presenting me with rational solutions so I'm really grateful for that.
11. You both looked great on your Nikkah. Were you involved in the whole process of who or what you’d wear?
Usman: I looked at a few options and shared them with family, they chose the one they liked, I placed the order and left for Karachi so I didn’t even have time for fittings or trials. I wore the outfit for the first time on the day of the Nikkah and showed up but I'm really glad it turned out well. The people at Faiza Saqlain did a really good job with it.
Zunaira: I was very indecisive till almost one month before the event. I wanted something that was timeless and not too over the top. In the end, I just decided to build the outfit and look around my mother's Nikkah dupatta and I was very happy with the end result.
12. Zunaira What is it like to be a married woman and what advice would you dispose towards most brides to be?
Since I actually haven't had my rukhsati as yet, that will be later this year, it still feels more like an engagement. I don't really feel like a newly-wed. But one advice I would give to any bride to be is that just try to stay calm and enjoy the little moments, things tend to work out in the end and the stress was for nothing.
13. Usman what do you have to say about internet calling you the lucky mascot for co-stars because according to them whoever you work with ends up getting married? Did you ever take it personally?
I never took it personally but I have questioned myself many times whether I actually have this gift. (Laughs)But I'm really happy that whoever I've worked with have gotten happily married and I wish them all the best. And if I'm the reason for even more actors getting married, I'll be more than happy to help out.
Other than the ones who know you personally, people aren’t aware of your name ‘Joey’ so out of curiosity we really want to know where does this name come from? Any reference to the show ‘Friends’? There is definitely a reference to the show ‘Friends’. I have an issue that I cannot share food, I hate when people pick food from my plate. Even my friends and family know that I would order extra for the table so that people don't take food from my plate.
14. Name a few factors that are important to both of you and your partner regarding marriage?
Usman: Since we only had our Nikkah as of yet, there haven't been many events to choose from. But if I had to choose from the Nikkah, I think I enjoyed the food the most. And the fact that I got married to Zunaira.
Zunaira: I love that I was the afterthought. Thanks
15. Which event or part of your wedding did you enjoy the most?
Usman: The one tradition that I wanted to get out of, but my family was adamant on doing it, was the Sehra Bandi. It happened at my house where they put a sehra on me.
Zunaira: Please share the pictures of that (Laughs).
For me, my sisters just did a small pre nikaah dholki where it was literally only the people in the house and one of my domestic staff's daughters put mehndi on me. So that's a really nice, heart warming memory.
16. Usman you are friends and acquaintances with many people in the industry. Any plans for a star- studded reception?
I don't know about ‘star-studded’ celebrations but I have a lot of close friends in the industry and I feel like your big day should be celebrated with your friends and your family. I just hope that the covid situation is under control by the time we're getting married so our friends and family can be a part of it.
17. Lastly, what advice a newly- married couple would like to give to all the single souls out there?
Usman: I feel like it's a new beginning, both the people in the relationship need to understand that and be there for each other. They should care for each other, be loyal and sincere and just make that experience beautiful so that you can remember the good times in the future.
But I think it's too soon for us to be giving out advice. You can ask again in a few years InshAllah.