Actor Morgan Freeman mistaken for Mandela in Indian billboard blunder

By AFP
Published: December 19, 2013

"We should be proud that we were part of an era when they lived," reads the billboard portraying Morgan Freeman as Mandela. PHOTO: @FarrukhHussaini/Twitter

NEW DELHI: An Indian owner of a billboard dedicated to Nelson Mandela was left embarrassed on Thursday after the discovery that a photo of actor Morgan Freeman was used instead of one of the anti-apartheid hero.

The billboard was erected on the side of a road in the southern city of Coimbatore as part of memorials across India and the world to Mandela, who died on December 5.

But Freeman’s face loomed large in the billboard over small images of human rights icons including Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi.

“We should be proud that we were part of an era when they lived,” read the Tamil-language condolence message on the board.

Cloth merchant Chandrashekhar, who paid for the board in a private capacity as a mark of respect to the former South African leader, said it was a mistake by the designer.

“We will replace it with the correct picture of Mandela,” the merchant, who uses one name, told reporters by telephone from the state capital Chennai, adding that he did not know how the gaffe occurred.

Morgan Freeman played Mandela in the 2009 film Invictus.

A photo of the billboard was being Tweeted on Thursday.

India declared five days of national mourning for Mandela, who was hailed as a “true Gandhian” and “great friend” by India’s leaders.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Burn
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:05PM

    Genius India, Genius India, Incredibele Mata Incledeble!

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  • miankhaliq
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:12PM

    Shining India !

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  • Paki
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:12PM

    Indian frequently makes these kinds mistakes which shows their lack of Knowledge about renowned international personalities.

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  • Omair
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:19PM

    Such ignorance can only be expected from Indians !

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:24PM

    We cant blame them for there knowledge about Quaid Azam……..

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  • unbelievable
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:35PM

    Oh well – at least then didn’t use Ben Kinsley picture for Gandhi.

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  • kashif
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:36PM

    hahahaha. that’s funny.

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  • Hassaan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:47PM

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

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  • Mandela
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:13PM

    @Paki:
    Just a Mistake! I think u did not knew India one of the few country in world which was invited by SA for mandela memorial for speech with US China &Brazil!…. where pak! no one knew! Lol

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  • lols
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:15PM

    some random local Tamil billboard, sincerely, but mistakenly giving tribute to late. Mandela. Those giving it as headline news are the biggest fools.

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:19PM

    Ha ha !! :D This is hilarious. Lets see if we can add to this unintentional humor:
    .
    Mr. Morgan Mandela fought against evil powers all his life, as is evident from “The Batman Begins”. He spent a lot of his life in jail – The Shawshank Redemption….Mr. Mandela is a great humanity icon and shall forever be remembered along side Mother Teresa, Gandhi and the like…

    :D

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  • Waqas Tariq
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:41PM

    These kind of blunders happen in India.

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  • trolley
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:52PM

    I second what @lols says . It is the thought that counts and which was very noble. Moreover , the cloth merchant has acknowledged the mistake and has decided to replace it.
    I think it was very petty of ET to put up this article and for some of the readers to pass snide remarks.
    In Pakistan any news about India sells and that is the reason I find more readers leaving replies to Indian news rather than what is happening in their country even if it is a bomb blast killing tens or hundreds of people.

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  • Sparta
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:21PM

    Incredible India! and these people claim to be the next “super power” LOL, i guess there going to blame Pakistan for the typo now.

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  • kaptaan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:26PM

    @trolley:
    Most of the comments on articles related to India are posted by Indians, in fact more Indians visit this site and other Pakistan news sites than Pakistanis do.

    I think it was very petty of ET to put
    up this article and for some of the
    readers to pass snide remarks.

    What goes around comes around, your compatriots make snide comments about Pakistan all the time.

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  • ModiFied
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:41PM

    @ Ali Tanoli: How many Pakistanis know that the title of Quaid-e-Azam to Jinnah was given by Gandhi and not by your Pakistanis ? Read the history and you will know this bitter truth.

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  • trolley
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:42PM

    @kaptan : As a corollary , do you agree that this concurrent article on ET , regarding Quetta Bomb blast has not attracted a single comment inspite of being put up roughly the same time (about 2 hours ago as I write this message)

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/647777/blast-in-quetta-4/
    (ET please post my this reply as soon as possible else there will be gap and status in the timeline)

    As regards your “What goes around comes around, your compatriots make snide comments about Pakistan all the time” – please note that we are never so obsessed by Pakistan that we will put up an equivalent petty issue on our web sides thereby affording Indians to make snide comments about Pakistanis.

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  • mytwocents
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:53PM

    I am amazed at the way this news is being used by the Pakistani readers to comment on intelligence of Indians. Have a hearty laugh people. You deserve it more than us with all those drones burning your backs. By the way, those Indians who complains that ET is biased in putting it in the website, please note that this news is in Times of India website too.

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  • aalia
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:54PM

    indian version of mandela

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  • aalia
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:57PM

    @Mandela: they called indians. ok. but what did you do to them?

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  • ooops
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:57PM

    i see very few Indian trolls over here LOL. & still blaming Pakistan for daring to pass a comment on this news, geez!

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  • 1984
    Dec 19, 2013 - 9:09PM

    @kaptaan:
    There is a difference,Our mainstream media doesnt post such articles in their newspapers…..

    I once saw a photo in a facebook page where a group of Pakistanis hold a banner saying “WE CONDOM DRONE ATTACKS”

    Imagine if TOI or Hindu published that in their newspaper just for making Indians making snide comments on Pakistanis….BTW,why is it so important for Pakistanis to know about a mistake made by an indian about a South African Non muslim leader???

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  • kaptaan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:01PM

    @trolley:
    When you live in a country where terrorism has become part of your life, you get desensitized to the violence, sometimes if only 4 people die in a terrorist attack it’s considered a “good day” because other times the death toll is much higher.

    “please note that we are never so obsessed by Pakistan that we will put up an equivalent petty issue on our web sides thereby affording Indians to make snide comments about Pakistanis.”

    Lol, then why do so many of your compatriots visit this site and other Pakistani news sites?In fact more Indians visit this site than Pakistanis.

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  • Takloo
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:03PM

    @1984:
    There is lot of rubbish and pakistan bashing going on indian newspapers daily….so please first teach ur indian fellows not to spread hatred against Pak

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  • kaptaan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:09PM

    @1984:
    “There is a difference,Our mainstream media doesnt post such articles in their newspapers…..”

    The reason why ET shows a lot of news about India is because this website receives more Indian visitors than Pakistanis, so ET is catering to their loyal demographic

    I once saw a photo in a facebook page
    where a group of Pakistanis hold a
    banner saying “WE CONDOM DRONE
    ATTACKS” Imagine if TOI or Hindu
    published that in their newspaper just
    for making Indians making snide
    comments on Pakistanis…

    You can’t compare the two, because Mandela’s death was a world event, and news sites from all over the world, and news sites all over the world covered the gaffe India made:
    http://news.yahoo.com/indian-billboard-mistakes-morgan-freeman-mandela-133143552.html

    Pakistanis to know about a mistake made by an indian about a South African Non muslim leader

    Why do you have to bring religion into this?How is that even relevant?Nelson Mandela is a global leader that fought against apartheid and imperialism.

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  • Takloo
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:17PM

    @trolley:
    Veena Malik and Adnan Sami are the two most favourite topics for indians to do Pak bashing…and I m amzaed that newspapers like TOI always cover them in front…so did that justify for you??

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  • Adi
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:26PM

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/647792/another-foot-in-mouth-moment-for-meera/

    Everytime the Pakistani actress Meera speaks English we have a moment like this.

    Just youtube ‘meera english’ for hours of lol.

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  • abd
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:59PM

    Sorry, to burst your bubble guys but our lot are equally ignorant. See what happened when the Czech PM came to Pakistan:

    http://pakistaniat.com/2007/05/11/pakistan-czech-republic-flag-diplomacy-check-checkered/

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  • syed
    Dec 20, 2013 - 1:26AM

    Does anyone of you even know where “southern city of Coimbatore” is in India?

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  • 1984
    Dec 20, 2013 - 1:34AM

    @Takloo:
    * There is lot of rubbish and pakistan bashing going on indian newspapers daily….so please first teach ur indian fellows not to spread hatred against Pak *

    I’m sorry But I only follow Hindu,Indian Express and TOI … The news I see of Pakistan are mainly about politics,sports,terrorism,military decision …They dont cover small issues like a poster mistake or movie gossip etc… If u do find,please tell me..

    @kaptaan
    U didnt get my point though…What I’m telling is that ET is covering needless gossips so that it can attract comments from both the sides but it doesnt have any purpose… I never minded when ET highlighted the rape cases and recent communal violence because we cannot keeping brushing things under carpet and say our country is good…
    But as a newspaper,I would personally avoid such topics because over indulging in such topics changed a national newspaper “Times of India” a British era newspaper to a “TOIlet Paper”

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  • NYC
    Dec 20, 2013 - 1:49AM

    LOLOLOLOL! Only in India
    And to all the indians, I bet my life if this happened in Pakistan you would also be commenting “only in Pakistan” so please dont try to sound more politically correct then Pakistanis. You’re just as good/bad as us :D

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  • Tog
    Dec 20, 2013 - 5:48AM

    And of course, whoever paid for the billboard poster observed international copyright laws? I dont think so!

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  • Shoaib Meer
    Dec 20, 2013 - 9:51AM

    @ModiFied:

    It was Maulana Mahzaruddin Shaheed who gave the title of Quaid-e-Azam to Muhammad Ali Jinnah Rehmatullah Alaih in the year 1938. He was an editor of delhi-based newspaper, Al-Aman.

    With my due respect why would Mr Gandhi give this title to Mr Jinnah when Congress always claimed that they were the representatives of Indians including the Muslims, not the Muslim.

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  • NMA
    Dec 20, 2013 - 6:23PM

    This had to happen sooner or later……..

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  • Singh
    Dec 20, 2013 - 8:59PM

    Brilliant Idea by designer.
    Instead of local advertisement with little money he attract international attention. simply brilliant.

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  • Proud Pakistani
    Dec 21, 2013 - 9:39PM

    First diplomat humiliated, then dominos attacked and now this hahahahh.
    SHINING SUPER POWER INDIA

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 21, 2013 - 11:18PM

    Maybe they considered mandela as Low casteRecommend

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