If you are in the restaurant business, you are always on the lookout of the next ‘different’ theme that will attract people. Punit Sablok had a similar ‘brainwave’ when he decided to model his new restaurant in Khaghar, Navi Mumbai on Hitler (yup, there is just one in the world) [hat tip: Amol Sardesai]. Hitler’s Cross choses to stand out among other Mumbai restaurants by adorning its walls with a mass murderer. Sablok’s justification – “We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people’s minds.”
The interior is done in the Nazi colors of red, white, and black with large sized Swastika symbols (not the traditional Indian ones) and a huge portrait of the Fuhrer. The actor, Murli Sharma called as a guest of honor to inaugurate the restuarant was amused by the theme but later admitted to having dozed off in his school history period and having lived in a cave since then.
Sablok stressed the ‘different’ factor just like every Bollywood director does before a new release. He thinks Hitler was hmmm…different. What does he think he was? Maggi ketchup? Different indeed. What’s next? Jack the Ripper fast food chain complete with strings of raw intestine or Saddam burgers. Sepia Mutiny’s comment thread is already abuzz with anger and sarcastic suggestions for the next restaurant theme.
Since the restaurant is in Khaghar, not too far from where my folks back home live, I am tempted to ask them to send me pictures so that I can rest all doubts regarding the existence of this place. But in a city where ignorance is rampant, I bet people will shrug their shoulders and say, so what? Then go right ahead and dig into their chicken kadai under the Nazi salute. Knowledge of German influence is restricted to the advertising slogan, Achtung Baby and the Max Mueller Bhavan. Heil Hitler! is a war cry that you can safely chant in India without anyone batting an eyelid.
Cherry Creek, Colorado also has a eatery themed on yet another mass murderer, Mao [some of my Chinese friends might disagree]. A Taipei restaurant had a prison cell/concentration camp decor that they thankfully removed:
In one of the cells, a picture of the entrance to a concentration camp hangs on the wall. The words on a prison gate in the picture read “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “Work Brings Freedom,” the same sign that greeted Jewish prisoners who went to the camps during the World War II. Nearby is another picture of an emaciated concentration camp inmate who stands in the foreground, his ribs protruding, while others huddle on bunks behind him.
Would you like to eat in that booth?
Update#2: Via BD, I got this picture of Hitler’s Cross: