Hrithik Roshan's Zomato ad: A day after priests of the Mahakaleshwar temple in Madhya Pradesh objected to online food delivery firm Zomato's advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra said he has directed police to look into the matter. Prima facie, the advertisement video being circulated on social media seems morphed, Mishra said.
Two priests of the famous temple had on Saturday demanded that Zomato withdraw the advertisement, claiming that it offends Hindu sentiments. In the advertisement, Roshan says he felt like having a "thali" (food platter) in Ujjain so he ordered it from "Mahakal".
To a query, Mishra said, “Prima facie, the advertisement video being circulated on social media seems morphed. I have told Ujjain's Superintendent of Police to look into the reality of the video and report to me so that action can be initiated against the guilty."
The temple priests, Mahesh and Ashish, had said Zomato should withdraw the advertisement immediately and tender an apology. Devotees are served 'prasad' on a thali and the advertisement hurts the feelings of Hindus, they claimed. The priests said they had also approached Ujjain Collector Ashish Singh, who is the chairman of the Mahakal temple trust, and sought action against the company so that no one mocks the Hindu religion again.
Collector Singh on Saturday termed the advertisement as "misleading", saying the temple offers free meals as 'prasad' and it is not sold. ALSO READ: Hrithik Roshan's Zomato ad angers Mahakal temple priests, 'boycott Zomato' trends after they demand apology
Zomato withdraws video, issues apology
Amidst backlash over the advertisement Zomato on Sunday issued a clarification for reportedly hurting the sentiments of Hindus. The food delivery app said that the 'Mahakal' thali advertisement was part of its pan-India campaign in which top local restaurants in each city and their top dishes based on popularity were identified. "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," the statement read.
In response to a tweet, Zomato clarified, "Mahakal Restaurant is one of our high-order-volume restaurant partners in Ujjain, and thali is a recommended item on its menu‘ thalis’ at ‘Mahakal Restaurant’, and not the revered Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple. The video is part of a pan-India campaign for which we identified top local restaurants and their top dishes based on popularity in each city. Mahakal Restaurant (simplified as ‘Mahakal’) was one of the restaurants chosen for the campaign in Ujjain."
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(With inputs from PTI)