The government on Thursday banned fashion television channel FTV for two months starting April 1 for allegedly beaming ‘indecent’ programmes.The transmission or retransmission of FTV on all platforms has been prohibited throughout the country with effect from April 1, an official statement said here.

The channel has been banned for showing programmes that were against good taste and decency, denigrate women and likely to adversely effect public morality, it said.

The statement said government has noticed that some cable operators were transmitting or retransmitting a satellite channel — FTV.Com India, which was reportedly telecasting programmes such as Midnight Hot.

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The said programme was against good taste and therefore, the government banned the channel in the country exercising powers conferred under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, the release said.

The government had earlier banned AXN; a channel owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, on January 17 this year but had lifted it after the channel’s apology.

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Fixing Fashion Week

March 4, 2007

The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) did not have an associate sponsor for the Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW) scheduled to begin on March 21 in Delhi. The responsibility for finding sponsorship lies with Percept D Mark, the event manager of the fashion week. It turns out that the lack of sponsorships had led to some tension between the FDCI and Percept that has since been resolved. “We’re very much handling the event,” insists Prita Singh of Percept. Meanwhile, choreographer Harmeet Bajaj was tipped for the job of event manager in case Percept pulled out. Bajaj has had to face the wrath of FDCI members for supposedly talking to the media. “No one from the FDCI has approached me, nor have I refused to do the event,” clarifies Bajaj. However, the FDCI is making some initiatives to bring money into the council. For the first time in seven years, they are selling space in the WIFW brochure at Rs 2 lakh a page. “Last year we started a designer directory for our own members in apparel and accessories,” says Rathi Vinay Jha, chairman, FDCI. “This year we’re hoping that boutiques and fashion-related companies will buy space in the brochure.” Jha doesn’t have any confirmations yet. Her ideas may work. Now only if the other FDCI board members would buck up.

A fashion television channel has come under the spotlight in India for its raunchy broadcasts at children’s viewing times, prompting the country’s information minister to warn the media against denigrating culture.

Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, who stirred controversy last month when he banned AXN channel for airing ‘The World’s Sexiest Advertisements’, told Reuters in an interview on Friday he was examining Fashion TV (FTV) for its adult content.

India banned FTV, a cable channel, in February 2002 for showing too much flesh but the decision was reversed a week later when the channel promised to adhere more closely to Indian sensibilities.

‘I have got the highest number of complaints from schools, colleges about Fashion TV operations,’ said Dasmunsi, the information and broadcasting minister.

‘The kind of things they show, even in school-time, examination-time, daytime, I think that’s not fair.

‘I straightly, plainly tell you, it is time for Fashion TV channel to think of whether they should confine their programme beyond 11 (p.m.),’ the minister added.

Music videos featuring sexy dancers and a suggestive advertisement of a woman licking an ice cream have irked Dasmunsi’s ministry.

Fashion TV was not immediately available for comment.

Indian cultural values are different from those in Europe and the United States, Dasmunsi said, and this should be respected.

‘Freedom of culture and expression should always be honoured but freedom to denigrate the culture, freedom to spoil and compromise the culture, should not be encouraged,’ he said.

AFTER DARK

Vehemently denying he was acting as the ‘moral police’ in a country which gave the world the Kama Sutra sex book, the minister said he wanted only to preserve ‘Indian cultural values’.

‘I am a student of literature. I am as liberal in matters of culture, art and other things than any one else. I am second to none. But you see, there should be a limit,’ Dasmunsi said.

Dasmunsi said those who want to have a little fun, can do so after dark.

‘I say show it, have your business, (but) make a restricted hours viewing,’ he said. ‘Let people see all this from 11 in the night to 5 in the morning. Let them suffer insomnia and see the doctors (and have) work problems.’

He also advised television channels to do ‘self-monitoring’ and parents to use their discretion while taking children to films which may have provocative scenes or dances.

India has more than 300 cable TV channels. It is set to be Asia’s leading cable market by subscriber numbers by 2010 and the most lucrative pay-TV market by 2015.

There are an estimated 65 million cable homes in India, the world’s third-biggest cable television market.

The government is proposing to set up a National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) centre in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, constituency of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Formalities for the proposal to set up a NIFT centre at Rae Bareli in UP will be completed in about two months, Textile minister Shankersinh Vaghela said on Tuesday night.

He said his ministry has received proposals to establish more centres of the prestigious fashion institute from various state governments including Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

We can consider a proposal if a state government is willing to invest Rs 25 crore and provide land for the institute, Vaghela said at the NIFT convocation here.

With its hub located in Delhi, NIFT has already established six other centres in Gandhinagar, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai.

From academic year 2007, NIFT will be able to award its own degrees as the institute has been conferred statutory status by an act of Parliament, passed in May.

On reports that there is shortage of teaching staff in some of the centres, Vaghela said he has asked the institute authorities to fill up the vacancies.

If there is shortage of staff, the institute can appoint teachers on a temporary basis or take loans to increase staff, he added.

If premium whiskey brand Johnnie Walker appropriated “Keep Walking” as its famous advertising line, other liquor brands seem to say “keep ramp walking”.

The recently concluded four-city promotion by Kyndal India, distributors for Sweden’s Absolut vodka in India, is a case in point. Absolut Elegance saw young women from Delhi, Ludhiana, Kolkata and Pune walking the ramp, hoping to bag a modelling contract with Absolut.

Similarly, the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour went to the top metros in the country and Seagram India tasted fashion as they roped in fashion designers including the likes of Aki Narula, Ashish Soni, Malini Ramani, Manish Malhotra, Ranna Gill, Rocky S and Tarun Tahiliani for its brand events. Vodka brand Smirnoff and beer brand Kingfisher have flaunted their association with fashion for years.

But where do style and spirits meet? Sunil Alagh, chairman SKA Advisors said, “Liquor companies find it perfect to be associated with fashion as their target consumers follow the same lifestyle. ”

As liquor advertising is banned in the country, this works as a surrogate promotion.”

However, Siddharth Banerji, director, Kyndal India, insisted that the promotions were not a form of surrogate advertising. “We don’t believe in surrogate advertising. We want to create a connection between the country’s youth and our brand. Fashion is the best way to connect with the youth,” he said.

Seagram India’s Assistant Vice President Bikram Basu agreed. He said, “The Indian consumer landscape is evolving very fast. Fashion and lifestyle changes are a key expression of one’s self.”

According to Banerji, fashion has taken on in a big way in India and a brand like Absolut, which promises to be “an iconic and contemporary brand known to trigger creative connections” is a perfect match with fashion.

And the effort to achieve a brand recall is evident as contestants at the Absolut event walked onto stage holding a bottle of the vodka.

One of the world’s best known fashion and lifestyle magazines, Vogue, is coming to India next year, its publisher Conde Nast Publications Inc. said Monday.

Vogue will join a long list of international fashion and lifestyle magazines seeking to expand their presence in India, where rising middle-class incomes have fueled unprecedented consumerism in recent years.

While magazines like Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, and Maxim publish through joint ventures, Conde Nast will own and operate Indian Vogue, the New York-based company said in a statement.

“Unlike most other Western publishers, Conde Nast will own and operate its own magazines in India rather than publishing through a joint venture or a license,” said Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Conde Nast International. “This approach reflects Conde Nast’s deep commitment to the Indian market,” he said.

However, it was not immediately clear how Conde Nast could publish on its own in India, where the government allows foreign companies to own only 26 percent equity in Indian media ventures.

Officials at the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which regulates media, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Vogue will be published from Mumbai, India’s entertainment hub. The Indian edition will be its 17th worldwide, the company said.

Conde Nast is the world’s leading publisher of lifestyle magazines like Glamour, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired and Conde Nast Traveler.

Reports in Indian media earlier this year said the company plans to bring Glamour, Vanity Fair and Traveler to India if Vogue’s launch is successful.

Wills Lifestyle has grabbed the elite designer, this time not for a fashion event but to create an unique collection for its exclusive outlets in India.

The likes of Rohit Gandhi – Rahul Khanna, Monisha Jaising and the Bollywood favorite Manish Malhotra are all joining to design men’s and women’s wear, which would probably be restricted to the urban class, priced between the range of Rs2000-15000.

While Rohit and Rahul offer trademark ethnic bandhini and batik styles in varied fabrics of soft satins, silks and lovely velvets, Jaising’s range is marked by feminine graceful sinuous dresses and traditional kurtas in auburns, russets and fawns, embellished with intricate embroidery and delicate beads.

Manish Malhotra collection is a contrast with expertly defined cuts and elegant prints on fabrics with effortless falls in sensual strawberry shades and alluring peachy pink free-fall skirts and tunics that do not fail to surface the deadly desires.