Inspired by wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman's bravado, his haircut and the 'gunslinger' moustache, a hair-designer here in Bengaluru gave over 650 people a similar look free of cost.
The IAF pilot has become a legend of sorts after he shot down an F-16 aircraft in a dogfight and the manner in which he carried himself with dignity on being held captive after his MiG-21 Bison was downed.
Clippings of his calm demeanour while being questioned by his captors won the hearts of one and all. "Considering the popularity of our proud soldier, we decided to give free 'Abhinandan Cut' to all for a day at my salon and spa," hair designer Nanesh Thakur of Nanesh Hair Salon & Spa told PTI Monday.
"By offering the 'cut', I will be instilling patriotism among the youth, which will motivate them to choose a career in the defence services," Thakur said.
Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman's moustache style getting popular. A Bengaluru local Mohammed Chand says,' I'm his fan, we follow him. I like his style. He is the real hero; I'm happy.' pic.twitter.com/cT7QGXntMs— ANI (@ANI) March 3, 2019
Overnight, the pilot became a 'cult figure' as he shot down an F-16 belonging to Pakistan. In the course of the dogfight, his plane too was hit, but he ejected safely and was caught by the Pakistan authorities.
Videos shared by Pakistan of the 'big catch' showed Abhinandan bleeding, but he put up a brave front and refused to divulge any information to the Pakistan military.
As a "goodwill gesture", Pakistan released Abhinandan to de-escalate tension post-IAF's retaliatory attack targeting the terror camps in the neighbouring country.
India had carried out pre-emptive strikes to avenge the killing of 40 CRPF soldiers by a Jaish suicide-bomber at Pulwama in Kashmir on 14 February.