Zomato, the Food delivery firm has taken down its promoting advertisement recently. The ad film was shown on the social media platforms like YouTube. In the advertisement, the food delivery company compared plastic waste with a Dalit character from the Bollywood movie Lagaan. Lagaan was released in 2001 and the comparison was done with the Dalit character of Kachra. Kachra is a Hindi word meaning garbage or waste.
The advertisement drew mass attention and got a lot of criticism as it portrayed a tone-deaf character from a marginalized community. Zomato cast Aditya Lakhia in the advertisement. Aditya Lakhia was portrayed as Kachra in the advertisement movie. The title of the promo read, ‘Zomato recycles Kachra feat. Kachra as Kachra’. In the advertisement, the character was portrayed as literal garbage. A type of garbage that can be upcycled into a watering can, a paperweight, a flower pot, a lamp, a hand towel, and a table, among other objects.
Lakhia’s character in the movie, Lagaan was portrayed from an untouchable caste. These concepts invoke the deep-rooted casteist concepts that have been underpinned by the fictional village the film was set in. Zomato didn’t entertain any questions or queries sent by various media houses about the internal process and strategy to vet the content, also if the senior management approved it.
On the internet, the advertising received criticism for being uninformed about the realities of casteism in Indian society. Neeraj Ghaywan, a National Award-winning director best known for his highly praised feature film debut Masaan, described the commercial as “extremely insensitive.”
#Kachra from #Lagaan was one of the most dehumanised voiceless depictions of Dalits ever in cinema. @zomato has used the same character and made a repulsive #casteist commercial. A human stool? Are you serious? Extremely insensitive! https://t.co/xWUpDatUvD— Neeraj Ghaywan (@ghaywan) June 8, 2023
“Kachra from Lagaan was one of the most dehumanized voiceless depictions of Dalits ever in cinema. Zomato has used the same character and made a repulsive casteist commercial. A human stool? Are you serious? Extremely insensitive,” Neeraj Ghaywan tweeted.
Zomato Took Down the Video
Zomato later announced that it had taken down the video. It said in a tweet, “On world environment day, we intended to spread awareness about the potential of plastic waste and the benefits of recycling in a humorous way. Unintentionally, we may have hurt the sentiments of certain communities and individuals. We have taken down the video.”