The Racism In This Ad Mocking IAF Pilot Abhinandan Is Only Trumped By Its Pointlessness

It's understandable to want to reply to the Mauka Mauka campaign, but to make fun of Abhinandan's skin colour is appallingly low on humour and good taste.

Advertisments always have the onus of being memorable (for good or bad), and sometimes while chasing those eyeballs, the agencies overstep the boundaries of decency and good taste. A new Pakistani ad has chosen IAF pilot and war hero, Abhinandan Varthaman, to mock with little to no consequence. Abandoning even the slightest level of decency, this advertisement makes fun of the Wing Commander’s skin colour and his South Indian accent.

How do we know that they’re mocking the Indian pilot? The character in the ad sports a moustache that looks eerily similar to Abhinandan Varthaman’s. And to every question posed to him about the upcoming India vs Pakistan fixture at the ICC World Cup, the character responds by saying, “I’m sorry, I’m not supposed to tell you that sir!”

Do you remember that hostage video featuring Abhinandan Varthaman, that was released by the Pakistani army in the aftermath of the Pulwama Attacks? Yes, exactly that. Some copywriter thought it was perfectly okay to ‘use’ that hostage video as raw material and reduce a life-and-blood air force pilot to a prop. The aftermath of Pulwama was a sensitive time for both India and Pakistan, and for it to be milked in an ad that doesn’t wish to accomplish anything beyond make fun of a man’s skin colour and his ‘peculiar’ accent is such a travesty.

The unsubtle and shocking racism (it’s 2019!) in the ad is only superseded by its sheer pointlessness. It’s understandable to want to reply to the Mauka Mauka campaign, but the manner in which they’ve gone ahead with this is appallingly low on wit, humour and good taste. It’s astounding how many people okay-ed this for it to make it to a broadcast.

Here’s what Twitter has to say about the ad

Here’s hoping the banter on the field on June 16 (India vs Pakistan) is better than this.