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Last Updated : Jun 15, 2019 05:38 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Witty banter or bad taste? India, Pakistan in advertisement battle ahead of high-octane ICC World Cup clash

While these advertisements have gone viral, not everyone is happy about them. Many fans from both countries have taken to social media to suggest that the commercials are in bad taste

Nachiket Deuskar @PartTimeBowler
Image: Screenshot of the Star Sports ad
Image: Screenshot of the Star Sports ad

The Indian cricket team’s next fixture in the 2019 Cricket World Cup is against New Zealand on June 13. However, fans have already set their eyes on the clash with arch-rivals Pakistan, which is scheduled for June 16.

As expected, the ‘cricket fever’ is rising as the big match day nears. The two sides will clash in the World Cup at a time when bilateral tension between the two South Asian neighbours is high. This will also be the first time the two neighbours meet in an International Cricket Council (ICC) event after India lost to Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.

Television commercials have been unleashed from both sides ahead of this group stage encounter. While these advertisements have gone viral, not everyone is happy about them. Many fans from both countries have taken to social media to suggest that the advertisements are in bad taste.

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An advertisement released by Pakistan's Jazz TV mimics the video released of Indian Air Force (IAF)’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman by the Pakistani military when he was captured a day after the Balakot airstrike in February.

The model featured in the advertisement sports Abhinandan’s trademark moustache and is seen wearing a blue jersey while answering questions on camera. The actor also sips tea from a cup, just like Wing Commander Abhinandan had in the original video put out by Pakistan military.

He repeats Abhinandan’s viral statement “I am sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this” multiple times in the commercial when he is asked questions related to India’s playing XI and the team’s strategy if it wins the toss.

The advertisement is facing severe criticism in India. Critics have pointed out that it has racist overtones as it shows Abhinandan’s face blackened to show his dark complexion, apart from it being in bad taste.

Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured on February 27 while he thwarted intrusion of Pakistani F16 jets into the Indian air space as they tried to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. He had remained in Pakistani military’s custody for around 60 hours, before being released.

On the other hand, Indian broadcaster Star Sports has returned with its iconic ‘Mauka Mauka’ advertisement. The promotional campaign had gone viral during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The broadcaster has given it a ‘Father’s Day’ spin as the match will happen on June 16, which is celebrated as Father’s Day across the world.

This advertisement features the grown-up Pakistani son being wished by a Bangladeshi fan for the India-Pakistan fixture. The playing Pakistani son remembers his father's teaching that one should never give up. He is interjected by an Indian fan who says, “maine aisa kab kaha (I never said this)’ — subtly implying that India is the ‘father’ out of which both Pakistan and Bangladesh were carved out.

Similar to the 2015 version, the new advertisement mocks Pakistan's poor head-to-head record against India in World Cups. Pakistan has never beaten India in a World Cup match so far, in six outings.

While the advertisement went viral, many Indian fans opined that it was in bad taste. However, others said the two advertisements were fair and that they were part of the overall banter around the big clash.

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First Published on Jun 15, 2019 05:30 pm
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