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Pakistani ad mocks video of downed Indian pilot as rivals prepare for World Cup match

Pakistani ad mocks video of downed Indian pilot as rivals prepare for World Cup match
A new cricket World Cup ad from Pakistan is provoking anger across India as it parodies the now famous video of captured Indian airforce pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s interrogation by the Pakistani military in February.

While advertisements for competitions between long-time rivals India and Pakistan have often been hard hitting, the mutual mockery seems to have intensified following the military conflict earlier this year. The new ad from mobile provider Jazz is a case in point, mocking the mustachioed wingman who became a hero across India for refusing to answer his interrogator's questions after being shot down and captured by the Pakistani military.

The ad features an actor made to look like Varthaman repeating the real-life pilot’s viral polite refusal “I’m sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this,” only in this case in answer to questions about India’s strategy in the upcoming cricket match. The clip closes with a play on the title cup the winner of the game will bring home, as the interrogator asks the Varthaman look-alike to return his tea cup.

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While light hearted in tone, the ad drew heavy fire due to its serious subject matter, many accusing it of displaying bad sportsmanship and even racism. While others joked that the tea cup is the only one that Pakistan would keep, considering its long losing streak.

On the Pakistani side, however, many argue that the commercial is just a joke, as well as a tit-for-tat answer to India’s controversial “Mauka Mauka” ads. These ads by India’s Star Sports network mock Pakistan for their repeated losses over the years, and have been viewed by some as patronizing.

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