Mrs. Muttreja said the prime-time ban for condom ads was in “direct contradiction to the population policy of the government.”
On Monday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued Advisory No. 40011/01/2014-BC-1, now known as the condom ban, saying condom commercials could be “indecent/inappropriate for viewing by children.” Some critics of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party accused it of being motivated less by children’s welfare than by prudishness, pointing to past moves like blocking hundreds of pornographic websites and an effort to eliminate sex education from government schools.
But conservative groups cheered the decision. “This is India and it has its own culture, and anything related to sex is generally not publicly discussed,” said Bal Krishna Bhartia, president of the Confederation of All India Traders, a business association that started complaining about condom commercials a few months ago.
One of the steamiest ads, for the Manforce condom brand, features Sunny Leone, an Indian-American actress who used to star in pornographic films. The commercial seems to suggest a couple celebrating their wedding night. With sultry music playing in the background, Ms. Leone undresses slowly from a huge bed lit with white lights. A man watches, swallows, and then steps into action.
“It is a very romantic ad,” Mrs. Muttreja said. “What’s wrong with romance?”