GOA, India — India is getting another dose of Playboy spice. First it was the announcement of Bollywood star Sherlyn Chopra’s nude layout in the November edition of the local magazine and now the country's set to open its first Playboy Club.
The new 22,000 square foot club will open by mid-December on north Goa's Candolim beach, that according to Indian brand licensee PB Lifestyle Ltd. CEO Sanjay Gupta, will be the first beach location for Playboy globally.
According to the BBC, this is the first of eight Clubs scheduled to open over the next three years with extended plans of 120 clubs, bars and cafes in 10 years.
But don’t expect the Indian Bunnies to look exactly like the iconic cleavage-heavy hostesses in the U.S. and other countries.
Gupta said the costume would be adapted to suit India's conservative values. "Bunnies are an integral part of Playboy clubs. For the obvious reasons of Indian morality and sensibilities, we can't follow the traditional costumes that Playboy bunnies are associated with."
The new. more modest Indian Bunny costume will be revealed at the Club’s grand opening.
But as usual, Playboy’s presence is being met with some controversy.
Goa authorities said that they would shut down the Club if they consider it obscene, vulgar or contains nudity.
Director of Tourism Nikhil Desai told local news agency PTI that he knows nothing about the Club’s application to operate. "They might have applied under some other name and may brand it as the Playboy Club," he said.
He warned that the tourism department will immediately withdraw permission if the operators are found flouting rules, and added that the move would also make all other permissions granted to the club null and void.
Meanwhile, local women’s group Bailancho Ekvott took a shot at the new Club saying it is “not wanted in the state.”
Group chief Auda Viegas said that the police and the government have no mechanism to keep a tab on what could happen inside the club.
"Goa's latest aim is to invite all things which are anti-social and bad for society. This club is banned everywhere. What system do we have in place to check what's going on inside the club? We have not been able to check places like dance bars, pubs, events organized by outsiders in Goa where women are trafficked. It's not a fair that Playboy Club is allowed in Goa," Viegas said.
But Gupta said in an interview, “There will be nothing contrary to Indian sensibilities. We are in the process of launching a sustained PR campaign starting this month to dissociate Playboy with adult content and nudity. PB Lifestyle Ltd. is a local company, unrelated to the Playboy empire and has an exclusive license to market Playboy merchandise and set up and manage clubs in India.
“The Playboy club will be about the Playboy lifestyle and its glamour image rather than the negative side of it, if I can call it negative,” Gupta told India Real Time.