India has long breached the subject of sex in real life. Even if we celebrate festivals like Holi and Navratri around sexual frolicking, the very act of having sex is never discussed. It remains a topic to that’s never associated with religion. That’s the reason people in Gujarat seemed to lose their cool when a condom company erected billboards featuring Bollywood actress and former porn star Sunny Leone. The advertisement came with the tagline, “Play with love this Navratri’.
A daintily garbed Sunny Leone in ghagra choli was playing the role of a Gujarati belle looking for fun during Navratri in the billboards but angry protesters tore down the posters that advertised India’s largest selling condom brand Manforce. The allegation, the ad was construing cultural sentiments, when in reality, as youngsters dance to Garba during Navratri, religion is rarely in their mind.
Gujarat and other North Indian states record double condom sales during Navratri as per a report by the Economic Times. The surge in sales prompt condom brands to amplify their publicity to reach out to young people with special focus on hotspots like colleges, cafes and restaurants.“Selling condoms is not like selling face cream. It can’t be pushed, it’s a natural pull,” Rohit Jindal, the head of marketing at Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Durex, told the Economic Times.
While the public may express their shyness in the form of anger towards not talking about sex during Navratri, they forget what Garba, the dance form danced to during Navratri, actually stands for. Garba in Sanskrit stands for womb and so implies gestation or pregnancy. Meaning more and more Indians are enjoying Navratri to its fullest and are choosing protection as they dance away under diluted parental guidance. But the elders seems to not want to talk about it despite reality telling them otherwise.Sunny Leone on a Navaratri condom ad hardly seems to be the problem here.