In the midst of a controversy, internet meal delivery company Zomato has pulled a commercial featuring actor Hrithik Roshan and apologised, emphasising that the Mahakal reference was for a restaurant rather than the temple.
The priests of Madhya Pradesh’s famous Mahakaleshwar temple had objected to the advertisement, stating that it hurt Hindu sentiments. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had directed the police to investigate the incident.
Earlier on Saturday, temple priests Mahesh and Ashish demanded that the online food delivery company remove the advertisement immediately and apologise.
They stated that devotees are offered ‘prasad’ on a thali and that the advertisement offends Hindus.
“A company which delivers non-veg food should immediately withdraw the misleading ad referring Mahakal thali,” Dainik Bhaskar cited priest Mahesh.
The priests had also contacted Ujjain district collector Ashish Singh, the head of the Mahakal temple trust, and requested that the firm be prosecuted.
In the advertisement, Roshan says he felt like having a “thali” (food platter) in Ujjain so he ordered it from “Mahakal”.
“The Hrithik Roshan starrer ad that ran in specific pin-codes of Ujjain referenced to ‘thalis’ at ‘Mahakal Restaurant and not the revered Shree Mahakaleshwar temple. Mahakal Restaurant is one of our high-order-volume restaurant partners in Ujjain and thali is a recommended item on its menu,” Zomato said in a statement issued on its Twitter handle.
According to the meal delivery company, the video is part of a pan-India campaign for which Mahakal Restaurant (simplified as Mahakal) in Ujjain was chosen.
“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,” Zomato added.