A recent film for Pakistan-based streaming service JazzTV has been at the receiving end of widespread criticism across India. The ad was created to highlight the upcoming India versus Pakistan match in the currently ongoing ICC cricket world cup.
Created by an in-house team, the ad features a man in brownface made up to resemble Captain Abhinandan, an Indian pilot who was detained by the Pakistani side after crashing during a recent cross-border skirmish.
The film parodied the responses given by the captured pilot during an interview, pivoting to a joke where the punchline was: ‘Where do you think you are going with the cup?’
The reaction across the border was adverse with the use of brownface evoking allegations of racism. Many Indians were also vocal in their belief that jokes at the expense of the armed forces are “off-limits”.
India too has created ad campaigns at the expense of Pakistan’s cricket team and its fans.
A series of films from Indian broadcaster Star Sports aired during the 2015 cricket world cup called ‘Mauka Mauka’ [Opportunity] played on the theme of a Pakistani fan constantly having to postpone a celebration with fireworks, since his national team has never beaten India during the tournament.
A 2019 iteration of the campaign, features banter between characters representing Bangladesh, Pakistan and India and ends with a joke that’s punchline roughly translates to “who’s your daddy?” given that the match happens to be on Father’s Day.
The launch campaign for the current cricket series created by Ogilvy had several teams from all over the world break into a Bollywood style dance routine before a woman who is supposed to be the Queen of England singing ‘Cricket ka crown hum le jayenge’ [We will take the crown of cricket].
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