Pity the girls who work at India's upcoming Playboy Clubs--if they ever come to fruition.
According to India's Hindustan Times newspaper, Playboy plans to open eight Playboy clubs in India over a period of three years, and ramp up to 120 clubs, bars and cafes in 10 years.
Good luck with that.
For several years now, Playboy has been talking about launching the magazine in India--which already has Maxim and the like--without full nudity. And this year Bollywood wannabe Sherlyn Chopra became the first Indian-Indian to pose naked for Hef (see here). But despite the Indian male's desperation--or perhaps because of it--the brand will face a long haul here, in my humble opinion.
Over the past four years since its beginning in 2008, the intercity Indian Premier League (IPL) has repeatedly drawn fire for importing scantily clad cheerleaders to perform during matches. Finger-wagging editorials have lamented the demise of Indian culture--not to mention cricket. Several teams have been compelled to revamp their cheerleaders as dowdy, traditional Indian dancers, in an odd mix of "culture" and sport that was not well received by the louts in the bleachers. And there have been more than a few tell-all reports from the cheerleaders themselves of the nightmare gauntlet of lechers they're forced to endure for the chance to high-kick for cash.
Here's my prediction: The very first Playboy Club will open, most likely in Bangalore or Mumbai, to the soft serenade of the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, or some other defender of Indian honor. Windows will be broken. "Bunnies" will be manhandled. A government will step in with high-sounding rhetoric about "hurt sentiments" and so forth, and the eager members will be compelled to turn in their keys. (Note: This is a country where canoodling couples get beaten up by self-appointed moral police on Valentine's Day).
If by some miracle, that doesn't happen, I look forward to the first tell-all to appear in India's Open or Tehelka: My Bottom-Pinching Nightmare as a Playboy Bunny.