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Playboy club too hot for BJP

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OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT   |   Published 14.08.14, 12:00 AM

Hyderabad, Aug. 13: There’s no denying it. The Playboy has got under the skin of the BJP’s girl band.

BJP women cadres and the Hindu Jagran Samithi, an outfit affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, today demanded that Hyderabad’s Playboy Club, part of a worldwide chain of nightclubs and resorts, be closed down.

Their complaint: women are being used to attract clients.

The immediate fallout: off with the women.

In a rather prompt order, reminiscent of the quick-to-decree Queen of Hearts, the foul-tempered monarch in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Cyberabad police have asked the club, located at Novotel hotel in the Hitech City, not to employ women as waitresses, hostesses or “bunnies”, or women dressed as rabbits.

Any violation of the conditions would lead to suspension and cancellation of the police licence to operate, Cyberabad commissioner C.V. Anand said.

The club had run into protests at its Sunday launch itself when activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Manch, the youth wing of the BJP, barged into Novotel.

The activists — 11 of them were arrested — said there couldn’t be a Playboy club.

“When the Playboy magazine is banned in India,” said one of them, “how can there be a Playboy Club?”

Today, the BJP’s Mahila Morcha submitted a memorandum to home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy, saying the club should be shut down.

The sense of indignant outrage appears to have blurred political divides too. Popular Left-wing social activist Pasam Padma said there was no guarantee that “nothing untoward and obscene” would happen at the Playboy Club. “How could permission be given to such a notorious club when the government appointed a woman tennis star as its brand ambassador?” she said.

The Telangana government recently appointed Sania Mirza as its brand ambassador.

Sanjay Gupta, CEO of PB Lifestyle Ltd, the India representative of the US-based adult entertainment brand, said the club would conform to Indian moral values.

What about the bunnies?

They would be as demure as they come, Gupta said, with long drapes of chiffon and a satin bustier, all customised to suit Indian sensibilities.

After all, the company wants to reposition itself as a lifestyle brand for the aspiring middle-class Indian and expand its footprint with plans to establish outlets in south Delhi and Worli in Mumbai.

Mohan Gowd, of the Hindu Jagran Samithi, wasn’t convinced. Such clubs, he said, promote nudity and sex.

The Samithi’s memorandum to the governor and the state home minister highlighted Playboy chief creative officer Hugh Hefner’s promo — “fresh animals, shy, vivacious and sexy” — for the bunnies.

The whole concept of bunnies is humiliating to women and could lead to increased violence on women, said Anushka Sai Pratap, a student of St. Francis college in Hyderabad. “This is nothing but a rich, spoiled, urban male club that would affect the rest of the society.”

Not everyone saw it that way. Although the entry fee was Rs 4,000 per couple, there was a huge wait list.

Sana Satish Babu, the Indian partner of the venture, said the Playboy concept gelled well with the dynamic youths of the city of Nizams.

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