Ahead of India’s clash with Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup 2019 on Sunday, a Pakistani news channel has released an advertisement that features a character purportedly depicting Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force, the braveheart who shot down a Pakistani F-16 with his Mig 21 Bison in a dogfight.
Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan Armed Forces after his Mig 21 Bison aircraft was shot by Pakistani forces and he landed inside the enemy territory after ejecting.
The character playing Abhinandan is seen sporting a blue jersey with the Air Force pilot’s signature moustache in the Jazz TV clip, sipping a cup of hot tea, in the same manner as Abhinandan was shown in the footage that was released by the Pakistani authorities post his capture in February 2019.
In this short, 33-second TV clip, a voice in the background is heard asking the protagonist about who are the players that would be included in the playing eleven on Sunday. To this, he responds by saying “I am not supposed to tell you this” in a typical south Indian accent, ostensibly trying to recreate the questioning of Abhinandan by the Pakistani military officers when they questioned him and the manner in which he had responded.
The voice in the background further asks, “How is the tea?, which is again in the same manner as the actual footage showed. To this, the protagonist replies, “Tea is really fantastic,” just like Abhinandan had answered.
Here is the video:
Jazz TV advt on #CWC19 takes the Indo-Pak air duel to new level. It uses the air duel over Nowshera and Wing Co Abhinandan Varthaman’s issue as a prop. @IAF_MCC @thetribunechd @SpokespersonMoD @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/30v4H6MOpU
— Ajay Banerjee (@ajaynewsman) June 11, 2019
As the two questions are over, the interrogator is heard telling the protagonist, “Acha chalo, you can leave”. Just as he rises to leave, he is pulled back by the interrogator who says “Ek second ruko! Cup kahan leke ja rahe ho? (just a moment; where are you taking the cup)” – using the word “cup” as a pun for the Cricket World Cup Trophy.
The tensions and conflicts between the two countries (India and Pakistan) have aggravated since the February 14 Pulwama attack and the subsequent air-strikes carried out by India in Balakot deep inside Pakistan.
Even though the Sunday game is not a decider as to which of the two teams would actually walk away with the cup, but the clip is being viewed as a Pakistani prediction given the history of all the editions of the World Cup where Pakistan has never won against India.