Ujjain priests want Zomato to withdraw Hrithik Roshan ad 'hurting' Mahakal prasad

By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh
Aug 21, 2022 11:09 AM IST

The advertisement is misleading, the Mahakal priests said as the prasad of the temple can't be ordered and is distributed free among the devotees. In the AI-powered Zomato ad, Hrithik Roshan orders food from various restaurants (depending of the location of the viewer).

Boycott Zomato started trending on Sunday after two priests of Ujjain's Mahakal temple demanded that Zomato should withdraw its advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan where the actor is shown to have ordered food from 'Mahakal' as he felt like having a 'thali'. The priests said their prasad is given on a plate (thali) free of cost to the devotees and it is not something that can be ordered online through the food delivery app.

In the 'Mann kiya, zomato kiya' advertisement of the online food delivery app, Hrithik Roshan says he ordered a ‘thali’ from 'Mahakal'
In the 'Mann kiya, zomato kiya' advertisement of the online food delivery app, Hrithik Roshan says he ordered a ‘thali’ from 'Mahakal'

Priests of the temple Mahesh and Ashish said Zomato should withdraw the advertisement immediately and tender an apology. They also approached Ujjain district collector Ashish Singh who happens to be the chairman of the Mahakal temple trust and sought action against the company. Speaking to reporters, Singh said the advertisement is "misleading", as the temple offers free meals as `prasad' and it is not sold.

In the ad titled 'Mann kiya, Zomato kiya', Hrithik Roshan says he wanted to have 'thali'. Since he is in Ujjain, he ordered a thali from Mahakal. The Mahakaleshwar or Mahakal temple of Shiva in Ujjain is one of twelve `Jyotirlingas'.

"'Mahakal se mangaa liya..’, new Zomato ad linking Mahakaleshwar temple to food delivery ignites controversy, priest condemns the ad for hurting Hindu sentiments. @zomato repeatedly insulting Hindus," a Hindu Janajagruti Samiti leader said.

"Mahakal is no servant who delivers food to those who demand it, He is a God who's worshipped. Could @zomato insult a God of another religion with the same courage?" the organisation tweeted.

AI-powered ad changes location

The Zomato ad featuring Hrithik Roshan is an AI-powered ad that uses the location of the viewer and localises the ad. So, only people of Ujjain can see the advertisement where Hrithik Roshan has ordered a 'thali' from Mahakal. The dish changes as the location changes. So in many other versions of the same advertisement, Hrithik Roshan can be seen ordering some other dishes -- mostly the speciality of that place – from famous restaurants of the place. There are restaurants named Mahakal in Ujjain.

What Zomato said

It clarified that it was indeed the name of the restaurant that was mentioned in the ad and not the temple. "We deeply respect the sentiments of the people of Ujjain and the ad in question is no longer running. We offer our sincerest apologies, for the intent here was never to hurt anyone's beliefs and sentiments," it said.

(With PTI inputs)

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