The National Commission For Scheduled Castes has issued a notice to food delivery service Zomato for the portrayal of a Dalit character in one of its advertising campaigns. Aditya Lakhia, who played the role of “Kachra” in the 2001 film “Lagaan,” appeared in Zomato’s World Environment Day advertisement. The advertisement, which was broadcast on June 5 in honour of World Environment Day, associates the lead character, Kachra, with the Hindi term for waste, “kachra.”
The corporation removed the video after receiving criticism on social media, claiming it had “unintentionally” harmed some communities.
“We may have unintentionally harmed the feelings of some communities and people. The video has been removed, according to the business.
However, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes announced that it would look into the situation and also served Deepinder Goyal, the founder of Zomato, with a notice.
The notice to the founder of Zomato stated, “If the commission does not receive reply from you within the specified time, the commission may issue summons for your personal appearance.”
Actor Aditya Lakhia is portrayed as a lamp, paper, paperweight, watering can, and various sorts of coats in the almost two-minute commercial, with the accompanying text explaining how much recycled “kachra” was required to manufacture each item.
Until he is chosen to play for the team, the crippled character Kachra in the movie “Lagaan” is rejected by his fellow villagers. He ultimately plays a crucial part in helping his team pull off an unexpected victory.
The inclusion of the figure in the advertising campaign was done to emphasise the value of preventing food waste and to call attention to the difficulties encountered by disadvantaged groups in society.
The advertising failed to connect with the public, and users criticised it on social media as being tone-deaf.
The food delivery service has previously encountered marketing failures as well.
An outdoor advertising campaign in 2017 featured the Hindi expletives “MC, BC” as abbreviations for mac n’ cheese and butter chicken in major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.
Hrithik Roshan, an actor, was depicted as having a longing for a “thali” (food platter) in Ujjain and ordering one from “Mahakal” in an advertisement that Zomato removed in 2022.
The revered priests of Madhya Pradesh’s well-known Mahakaleshwar temple complained, saying it hurt their feelings as Hindus, and demanded its evacuation. Police were instructed to check into the situation by Narottam Mishra, the home minister for Madhya Pradesh.
Later, the company apologized and made it clear that the reference to “Mahakal” was for a restaurant, not a temple.