Dance bars were the zing in Mumbai's night life

Mumbai, July 16 (IANS) The dance bars were once considered the jewel in the crown of Mumbai's non-stop night life -- until they were banned and shut down in August 2005.

Unique to the maximum city which never slept, dance bars had scores of young girls or women dancing away to blaring Bollywood numbers with colourful lights, a hazy airconditioned atmosphere reeking of the smell of cigarette smoke and liquor, plus food.

The patrons, mostly youth or wealthy businessmen, tourists both domestic and international, enjoyed an "interactive" session with the dancers by showering them with currency notes.

At times, depending on how regular the patrons were, they were even permitted to shake a leg under the strict watch of bouncers.

The culture of dance bars started modestly in Khalapur, in Raigad district, around 75 km from Mumbai, in the early 1980s.

The first such bar was 'Baywatch' which functioned quietly at night. Around 500-600 dancers and bar girls were brought from different parts of Mumbai and Thane in airconditioned buses to the venue in late afternoons.

The strategic location of Khalapur made it a favourite with the revelers, it was just off the Mumbai-Pune highway, and a vehicle disappearing into the rural darkness was hardly noticed or missed.

After earning a bundle - ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand rupees - many of the dancers would return by the same bus early morning the next day and reach home before sunrise; the 'others' who stayed back with patron-customers would make their own arrangements to go home.

The move soon picked up and spread like wildfire in Mumbai and Thane. At one point of time, there were an estimated 3,000 such night-bars employing over 75,000 dancers, but other estimates pegged the figure at around half a million.

Crores of rupees literally used to be blown up in these dance bars and there were some attractive dancers like Tarannum who was even raided by the Income Tax department.

Some of the top-end dancers used to arrive to 'work' in snazzy chauffeur-driven vehicles, with their own private armed security and an assistant to collect their earnings -- currrency notes showered on them by patrons.

But, for a majority of the other dancers, the plight was akin to what was vividly shown in the national award-winning 2001 movie "Chandni Bar".

Since the dance bars were routinely frequented even by the mafia operatives, police found them a rich source of gathering intelligence on various crimes.

The business became so lucrative that many regular family restaurants converted to dance bars to cash in on the craze - which figured prominently in the international print and electronic media.

It was in March 2005 that then Home Minister R.R. Patil hinted that the government planned to ban dance bars in view of the unsavoury activities reportedly thriving there and as these allegedly corrupted the young.

By April that year, dance bars were banned in the state except Mumbai, but following a hue and cry, even the city was brought under the ban.

In May 2005, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women frowned on dancing, but said women could work as waitresses in bars.

Later, after many hiccups, Aug 15, the state finally downed curtains on the signature night life of Mumbai.

The anti-ban lobby moved the Bombay High Court and in April 2006, the ban was lifted, but the state government was granted time to move the Supreme Court.

In May 2006, the apex court admitted the Maharashtra government's appeal against the high court decision, but continued the ban.

The Supreme Court has now finally struck down the state government's order banning the dance bars.

Several former bar dancers welcomed the apex court decision and said that, after suffering for eight years, they would now be able to dance and earn a decent living.

Most Viewed

  • Ranbir Kapoor goes gown on his knees to propose to Deepika Padukone
    Ranbir Kapoor goes gown on his knees to propose to Deepika Padukone

    All the eyes are on Ranbir Kapoor and his ex beau Deepika Padukone who have been shooting together for their upcoming film Tamasha. Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone were shooting for a romantic scene, where Ranbir had to go down on knees and propose Deepika Padukone. You can see in the pictures, Ranbir Kapoor goes down on Knees, while Deepika Padukone gets surprised on it. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone and is directed by Imtiaz Ali. …

  • Saif-Kareena Kapoor Khan And Soha-Kunal Khemu’s Wild Holiday
    Saif-Kareena Kapoor Khan And Soha-Kunal Khemu’s Wild Holiday

    Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan with hubby Saif Ali Khan spend their quality time with newly wed couple Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu. The couples are in Nagarhole, spending their weekend staying over at Saad Bin Jung’s resort, The Bison. In the picture, Kareena, Saif, and Soha Ali Khan are chilling out in open cottage, assuming Kunal Khemu clicking their picture, as he is missing. Kunal Khemu tweeted, On the early morning safari at Nagarhole wildlife reserve through the mist we spotted this …

  • Check Out: Alia Bhatt’s Transformed Vanity Van
    Check Out: Alia Bhatt’s Transformed Vanity Van

    Bollywood’s cutest actress Alia Bhatt is too excited and happy for her new personalized Vanity Van. The actress has recently got a new makeover for her vanity van. Alia Bhatt who calls her vanity van as a second home tweeted with a picture, “My second home, my vanity van !!! Thank you amritamahalnakai for transforming my van !! I love you to… Student Of The Year actress got her old vanity van customized into new according to her taste by Amrita Mahalnakai. As you can see in the picture just …

  • Sussanne Khan Spent Rs 16 Crore On A Penthouse In Pune?
    Sussanne Khan Spent Rs 16 Crore On A Penthouse In Pune?

    Hrithik Roshan‘s ex-wife Sussanne Khan has bought an expensive property for herself outside Mumbai city. According to recent reports, Sussanne Khan bought a beautiful penthouse in Pune for about 16 crore! The penthouse is located in Trump Towers, Kalyani Nagar and the celebrity interior decorator has bought the property only for investment purpose. A source was quoted saying, “Yes, she has purchased a penthouse in Pune. It is located in Trump Towers, Kalyani Nagar. …

  • Priyanka Chopra Bags The Most Expensive Endorsement Deal Of 15 Crore
    Priyanka Chopra Bags The Most Expensive Endorsement Deal Of 15 Crore

    Recently we reported that actress Priyanka Chopra is in US for the shooting of her upcoming new Hollywood TV show, Quantico. The actress will feature in ABC drama pilot ‘Quantico’ as a FBI trainee named as Alex Weaver. According to the reports, the officials approached Mary Kom actress last month and pitched the campaign to her, to which, she agreed to be part of it. Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra is busy shooting for Hollywood TV show, Quantico. …

  • Fifty Shades Of Grey Banned In India By Censor Board
    Fifty Shades Of Grey Banned In India By Censor Board

    Censor Board Of Film Certification has banned to release the big screen adaptation of erotic novel “Fifty Shades Of Grey” in India. Censor Board has objected the film to release it in India as it contains some erotic scenes and dialogues. The chief executive of Central Board of film Certification, Shravan Kumar declined to say that why the panel refused to approve the film adaptation. …

  • Beef Ban Takes Bollywood By Storm!
    Beef Ban Takes Bollywood By Storm!

    Bollywood celebrities are now coming forward and voicing their opinion on different matters. First it was the controversial AIB Roast, and now it’s the ‘Beef Ban’ that took the Internet by storm. To exercise their right to freedom of speech, our Bollywood celebrities took to their Twitter accounts and posted their views on the recent ‘beef ban’ sanctioned by Maharashtra government. Mumbai being the hub of most of Bollywood celebrities who opt to dine as they wish this news came as a shocker. …

  • Manoj Bajpayee turns gay professor; sports unkempt look for ALIGARH
    Manoj Bajpayee turns gay professor; sports unkempt look for ALIGARH

    The first look of Manoj Bajpayee's character in National Award-winning filmmaker Hansal …

Loading...