Maxim Goes Indian, Kashmir Bans Porn

Kat Khan
NEW DELHI, India — The new toned-down version of Maxim has hit India, marking a publishing bombshell in one of the world’s most conservative societies and representing yet another step in the country's inexorable slide towards the Western lifestyle.

The new Indian Maxim also marks the country's first mainstream publication featuring naked or semi-naked women, with the first edition’s cover featuring Priyanka Chopra, who was crowned Miss India World in 2000.

"We have a new urban male, affluent and well traveled with a more mature sensibility who wants to know about wine, gadgets, cultural trends and also look at beautiful women," Editor Sunil Mehra said, adding that he also has received dozens of calls from Indian women wanting to appear in the magazine.

"I get air hostesses, ex-Miss India's, students and cabinet ministers' daughters almost begging me to take them on,” Mehra said. “The parents don't mind at all. They're enthusiastic. The U.K. office was surprised at the pictures of our first shoot. It expected women in saris and instead got girls who looked no different from girls in other editions."

Various groups report that a new consumer culture has emerged during recent years in India, as Indians adopt an increasingly Western lifestyle based on higher levels of disposable income and exposure to such types of living. Mehra also said he sees huge potential in places where the Indian middle class aspires to remain current with the latest trends.

Mehra said much of the new Indian Maxim will feature content from U.S. Maxim, already a more toned-down version of U.K. Maxim, and will contain no frontal nudity or pictures showing nipples.

"We don't want women saying 'Oh God' when their partners take Maxim home,” Mehra said. “But also, Indian men are different from British Maxim readers. They're not laddish; that concept just doesn't exist.”

Introducing the new Indian version of the magazine may be a bold move, as the Indian governments of Jammu and Kashmir recently banned five foreign pornographic TV channels.

Blue Kiss, Blue Kiss Express, Blue Kiss Promo, TBL-XXX and Ren TV have been forbidden in the region.

"They are a threat to society. [They] broadcast programs that are against public morality," Director General of the State Information Department, Kwaja Furook Ahmed Renzu said.

Renzu said that all private channels and satellite operators in the area have been ordered to stop the airing of the five channels.

The ban may be due to the increase in militant activities in the region, where several extremist groups have imposed a ban on foreign music and movie channels, claiming that both work against Islamic values and culture. Additionally, a recent grenade attack in Srinagar was aimed to destroy a private satellite operator, however, no casualties were suffered.