New Delhi, June 11: Ahead of a crucial World Cup match between India and Pakistan on Sunday, a Pakistani TV channel has telecast a light-hearted promotional advertisement that features a character impersonating Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian Air Force pilot captured by Pakistan after his plane was downed by a Pakistani Air Force jet.
The character impersonating Abhinandan sports the Indian Air Force pilot’s signature handlebar moustache in the Jazz TV clip that is about 33 seconds in duration. But he is dressed not in an airman’s flight suit but instead in the Indian cricket team’s blue jersey. He is also seen sipping a cup of tea – much like the way the real Abhinandan was seen in TV clips made public by the Pakistani authorities after his capture on 27 February.
Wing Commander Abhinandan’s Mig 21 Bison aircraft was shot down after it crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir while thwarting an air raid by the Pakistan Air Force. This came a day after India struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot region.
In the TV clip, a voice in the background is heard questioning the impersonator about who are included in India’s playing eleven against Pakistan in Sunday’s match. The Abhinandan impersonator, who puts on a South Indian accent, says – “I am not supposed to tell you this” – in a copy of the way the real Abhindandan had responded when Pakistani military officers had questioned him about his mission while he was in Pakistani custody.
The interrogator then is heard asking him “How is the tea?” again in a copy of how the real interrogation of Abhinandan played out while he was in captivity. To which the impersonator says, “Tea is really fantastic” – just as Abhinandan had answered.
After two questions, the Abhinandan impersonator’s interrogator tells him “Achha chalo, you can leave.” As the impersonator gets up to leave, he is pulled back by the interrogator who says, “Ek second ruko! Cup kahan leke ja raho ho?” – punning on the word “Cup” in an allusion to the cricket trophy.
Tension has been running high between India and Pakistan since the 14 February suicide attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama region.
While the India-Pakistan clash on Sunday is not seen as a crucial game in terms of who gets to play in the semi-finals of finals, it certainly gives the winning team points that will determine its position on the leaderboard. (Agencies)