A condom ad featuring Sunny Leone, India's most Googled celebrity and a former porn star, has divided the entire country.

Manforce, the contraceptive company behind the condom ad, has been accused of using the Hindu festival Navratri to boost sales.

The company came under fire for billboard ads throughout the state of Gujarat which read: "This Navratri, play, but with love," as Sunny Leone posed seductively next to it.

The ad featuring Sunny Leone with ManForce scribbled out. Photo / via Twitter
The ad featuring Sunny Leone with ManForce scribbled out. Photo / via Twitter

The festival, held from September 21 to September 29, is celebrated to honour Goddess Durga, one of Hinduism's most popular Goddesses who also happens to symbolise power and purity.

Advertisement

The festival also stands for good triumphing over evil but it is what Goddess Durga stands for that is making the Sunny Leone ad so controversial.

In a letter to India's Minister for Consumer Affairs, The Confederation of All India Traders slammed the ad calling it an "immature attempt to boost sales" by putting their "cultural value system at stake".

The letter especially took aim at Sunny Leone, accusing her of disregarding the religious side of Navratri in her "lust of earning huge money".

The ad has been a particularly divisive one in India because statistics show that during the festival, contraception sales rise up to 50 per cent.

NGOs go into overdrive, setting up stalls to inform teenagers of the importance of safe sex while also handing out free condoms and promoting HIV awareness.

The festival allows teenagers to get away from the prying eyes of their parents and late-night performances with boys and girls dancing together often leads to exactly what you'd expect.

Just as contraception sales skyrocket during the festival, so too does private detective hire.

According to India TV, demand for private detectives shoots up in the Gujarat cities of Surat and Ahmedabad as parents try to keep an eye on what their children are getting up to.

The ad has since divided Twitter with plenty claiming India's overpopulation can be blamed for its inability to talk about safe sex while others have warned Sunny she'll be "punished" for the controversial ad.

ManForce has since responded to the backlash, tweeting it deeply regrets the ads.