Gloves are off: Pak’s Abhinandan reference in retaliatory ad slammed

While there are still four days left for the epic India-Pakistan battle on the pitch, the war of words – or ads – has already started, causing a jarring note that has not gone down well amongst the Twitterati.

Last Sunday (June 9, 2019), Star Sports unveiled its ‘Mauka Mauka’ campaign to promote the India-Pakistan ICC World Cup tie, which will be played on June 16. The ad trolls the dismal record of Pakistan against India in the World Cup and hints at India being the ‘baap’ of Pakistan. There were mixed reactions to that campaign, with some enjoying the rivalry shown, while the others found it to be not in the spirit of sportsmanship and quite unnecessary.

Read More: Baap re baap! Mauka Mauka returns to up the game of one-upmanship

It was inevitable that there would be some form of retaliation from across the border. Pakistan’s JazzTV has come up with an ad campaign that has agitated people on social media, more so since it touches a sensitive chapter between India and Pakistan.

The campaign shows a man, who has been made up as a lookalike of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, considered the hero of Balakot air strikes earlier this year, with his now well-recognised gunslinger moustache. In the ad, the lookalike is asked several questions related to the India-Pakistan match, to which he responds, “I’m sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this.” One would recall that Varthaman had kept repeating this very sentence when questioned by Pakistani interrogators.

#LetsBringTheCupHome Pakistan’s Ad by Jazz TV


Commenting on the Pakistani ad, Karthik Srinivasan, a communications consultant, said, “I found this very caricaturish and silly. Star Sports’ new ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad lacks grace and tries to invoke things beyond the game (the Partition, split from India, in context to Father’s Day). And this one goes further down, invoking more non-game incidents like Abhinandan. Negativity begets negativity. As the larger, more powerful nation, we have an opportunity to behave like the bigger, better and more evolved side.”

The Indian perspective:

Pakistani’s perspective:


So far, the ICC World Cup 2019 campaigns have been about cheeky banter about how many wins a team has had earlier, but when it comes to a match between India and Pakistan, there is nothing subtle or understated about it. Emotions run high and the gloves are off.

One could say that the campaigns are also reflective of the emotions of these two cricket crazy nations. Now all eyes are on the big Sunday (June 16) face-off.

Errr, by the way, India meets New Zealand tomorrow (June 13)...


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