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‘Extremely casteist’: Why Zomato pulled down its ‘Kachra’ campaign video on recycling plastics

New Delhi: Food delivery platform Zomato Thursday deleted its ‘Kachra’ campaign video featuring actor Aditya Lakhia after receiving severe backlash from social media users who accused the restaurant aggregator of drawing comparisons between ‘kachra’ (waste) and a marginalised group.

Released on World Environment Day, the ad campaign — with the tagline ‘Don’t waste food. Don’t be kachra’ — was aimed at spreading awareness on recycling plastic to reduce waste.

The video featured Lakhia as ‘kachra’, drawing comparisons to the character he played in Ashutosh Gowariker’s 2001 hit Lagaan. In the film, Lakhia is eponymously called ‘Kachra’ and plays the character of a man belonging to the lower caste. Zomato’s video showed Lakhia being used as a human stool, a lamp, a towel and other objects.

Facing criticism for the video, Zomato was quick to delete it and tender a public apology, saying its “intent was to spread awareness about the potential of plastic waste and benefits of recycling in a humorous way”.

National Award-winning director Neeraj Ghaywan said the ad was “extremely insensitive”.

Multimedia artist Anurag Minus Verma also called the video an “extremely casteist campaign”.

Another Twitter user who went by the handle @ProfRavikantK wrote, “I know many MBAs who will be like, what’s the big deal, we cant keep reacting to every outrage lol- fir ek kaam karo just stop paying your advertising, digital & research agencies no. If u truly dont care, why ru spending precious money on silly things like ‘knowing ur audience’ (sic).”

Several other social media users similarly voiced their anger against the campaign and said it made for an “uncomfortable watch” and accused Zomato of intentionally releasing such a campaign.

While releasing the ad on its YouTube channel Zomato wrote how the company promotes and participates in recycling plastics. In 2022, the company introduced plastic-neutral deliveries and also volunteered to recycle all the plastic used during delivery operations.

Source: The Print

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