Tuesday, August 16, 2005

'Dirty' dancing

So, Mumbai's dance bars are history. Not sure what moral angle it will serve with most of the affected girls saying the only alternative for them is prostitution. But I guess Mr R R Patil knows better.

What's even more confounding however is this report in the Indian Express dt Aug 13: "Don't dance, this is Bangalore".

It’s being called the ‘Talibanisation of Bangalore.’ Dharam Singh’s capital has gone a step ahead of R.R. Patil’s Mumbai as moral police have brought night life in India’s most international city to a grinding halt.

A new law ‘Licensing and Controlling of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order, 2005,’ originally introduced to curb the unregulated growth of dance bars/cabarets, or ‘live-band joints’ as they are known in Bangalore, has pulled the shutters on night life in the city.

The law which came into force on June 24 is seeing owners of not just cabarets but also lounge bars, restaurants and discotheques struggling to meet stringent licensing conditions.

As many as 49 establishments, falling into different brackets, have sought licenses for entertainment under the new rule but none has been granted since the police have not been satisfied with compliance.

So the work-hard, party-hard city is now being tucked into bed by 11:30 pm.

Don't know whether to laugh or cry at this bit:

At restaurants and lounge bars—with or without dance floors—owners these days get into a nervous tizzy even if clients tap their feet or nod too vigourously to the music. Over 150 plainclothed policemen are on the prowl to book anybody, dancer or owner, for dancing without a license.

"You can be arrested for dancing. You also cannot play music that provokes dancing. We have had to put sofas and fill spaces to prevent customers from dancing," says Amardipta Biswas, owner of Taika and Cosmo Village, two of the city’s in-vogue lounge bars and restaurants.

Apparently, night clubs are now playing 'classical music' to ensure patrons are not 'incited' to dance. Bangaloreans - confirm! - is this REALLY true??

What your problem is?
I've never been a party animal - discos aren't quite my scene. But that's my problem. I feel claustrophobic in small spaces populated with sweaty bodies, extra-loud music and smoke.

Besides, I am just not a 'natural' - my body doesn't 'move to the music'. But like I said that is my own predisposition.

There are tons of people who like to let their hair down on a Saturday night - and they should be free to do so. Yet this is what Deputy Commissioner of Police (admn) B Shivakumar has to say, "The new law is for the good of the people. Why should people stay out late and spoil their own health..."

Shivakumar is free to police his own sons and daughters - not all of Bangalore city!

As long as the patrons at nightclubs are over 18 or 21 or whatever the prescribed legal age where is the problem?

We can choose to stay up late.

We can choose to dance.

We can choose to consume alcohol.

Whether in a nightclub or in the privacy of our homes... None of these activities is illegal!

Meanwhile every Bollywood film has five numbers where girls and boys are gyrating to music - disco and otherwise... Is dancing so dangerous that it needs to be reduced to a spectator sport?


  1. Yikes...
    But I am assuming that B'bay will find a way out.. B'bay always finds a way out.. its just a matter of time. I've ne'er danced either, but have accompanied friends to get free peanuts and be a part of the spectator crowd.

    All dance numbers are getting so hot that when I visit home, I watch nothing but Cartoon Network to maintain decency. And now they implement such acts. For those nearer to the darker side, these bars and floors were a *sink * to release their built up sexual energy, I dont know what'll they think as a way out now.. I just hope its healthy and within social norms.

    As for me, I dont mind them, My poison are Samosas and PaniPuri;s and they get over by 11:30 at all good joints anyway :)

  2. Hi Rashmi!
    I totally agree with you for voicing your protest to these curbs on dance bars... yes, people need some place where they can let loose for sometime and enjoy their youth. I don't know whether these acts of Dharam or R.R.Patil are crap, but have heard about these parties, bars promoting exchange of drugs and gals! Instead of addressing the grass roots problems our nethas have again done the wrong thing (which they are always accustomed to doing :) ). What would happen now? Illegal bars and pros houses will come up and this will make the scene much more complicated to handle. the government could have very well kept an eye on drug and women traffickers instead of moral policing. Why do we always go wrong????? can't we take a leaf from many other countries where these measures have successfully been implemented.... ???!!!

  3. well said. Had they imposed such a ban some 15 years ago it would have been appreciated. Now that they have made people get used to certain kind of lifestyle it is a very cruel to do this.


  4. i really dunno where's this country headed. u talk abt development, what development. The politicians are sell outs, they kill the very hands that get them the saets. and after they get the seats, they do a dharma guru acts and show what needs to b curbed and what have u's

    if our hard working 20 and 20 somethings cant enjoy their life, who are they earning for, u only need some money to live and bla bla, bbut to live it up u wana make the extra money and enjoy.

    Why dont they bring a new version of the rowlat act and make the people shut up, next thing i knw, there wud b a ban on blogdom..

    what a country!!!!

  5. I'm Bangalorean, and not the pub-crawling variety, but a month ago we'd come out of a movie to find a place to eat, and everything was closed even though it was only just past 11 PM. There was a police van outside Empire on Church Street, which is usually open until 3 AM.

    OTOH, last weekend we had a private party at a place on Residency Road, and they had a dance floor we were allowed to use. I have pictures too.

    I, for one, can't make any sense of what the Bangalore police are up to. Another of their schemes is to harass all bikers with pillion riders after 10 PM so as to prevent mugging. Their theory is that muggers also use stolen bikes.

  6. When will urinating in public be banned?

  7. stepping into our 59th year of "independence.." and hence "freedom..", just gives Me.. another reason to think if we are actually free in the truest sense of the word..

    but i guess, all this is a part of democracy.. atleast it is not like china where recently 36 people were arrested for reading koran in school..

    till we reach that state.. JAI HIND..!!


  8. how do they even come up with something so archaic. Closing down Dance bars in a city like Bombay has reasons that can be argued upon. No point curbing Bangalore.

    I dont think these things will last long.

  9. Apparently, night clubs are now playing 'classical music' to ensure patrons are not 'incited' to dance. Bangaloreans - confirm! - is this REALLY true??

    Dunno if that is true , but there was a real mean looking bouncer going around in the Enigma Pub last saturday night forcing junta to sit down as soon as anybody got up to shake a leg.

  10. Apart from the fact that govt. adds idiotic laws every now and then to a growing list.... how can they apply the law without being subjective...what if the dance girls pose as customers...would they arrest any customer who dances...WHich brings us to the question as to what can be considered as dancing..is nodding ones head to the music dancing...where do they draw the line....?

  11. Smoking is unhealthy - so it was banned from movies.

    Dancing is not good for social well-being of the society. So what's next?

    Dancing banned from movies - My sympathies with Farah Khan, Saroj Khan and Ganesh.

  12. There have been some stupid comments to your post.


    *Its ok to ban in Bombay, but not in B'lore
    *It would have been ok 15 years ago, but not now
    *Illegal dance bars would crop up because of this etc.

    Either we agree this should not be banned, or we agree this should be banned. No half measures.

    And to prevent illegal killing does not justify legalizing murder!

    The place where I draw my line is this:
    If you want to dance, by all means do so (I love dancing, though I dont know how to dance).
    If you want to have alcohol, do so (I hate drinkers)

    About commercial dance girls, strip teasers etc... I haven't made up my mind. Whats your take on that Rashmi? Give us the feminist view point :)

  13. On a lighter note, Murder is legalized... Dont you know that James Bond has a license to kill ?


  14. Are Dance bars really history in Bombay now? I thought it hadn't become the law yet.

  15. Heh,ban? India? who are you kidding. Give 500 bucks to police and they quietly walk away. Dance bars and the like are here to stay.

  16. Till the late 80s, Bangaloreans were known for being early to bed and late to rise. Makes life easier for the cops too if people stay home. I've spent an entire night in the waiting room of a large hospital in Dallas (U.S) and heard scary stories of people attacking each other with knives simply for overtaking (showing off their car speed). These were people with nothing better to do in the daytime and giving a lot of trouble to the cops at night with their aimless visits to "happening places". Bangalore shouldn't turn into such a "vice city".

    Socializing shouldn't mean using your freedom to encourage deviant behaviour.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. I've lived in Bangalore for several years and seen these sometimes silly, sometimes befuddling, sometimes hilarious bans appear and disappear for more than 10 years. It is not just Mr Shivakumar, there seems to be something in the entire system that fails to differentiate between fun and sleaze. I remember live bands being banned in places where liquor was served because the combination apparently encourages promiscuity! I remember dancing being banned within city limits for similarly laughable reasons - which led to the proliferation of "dance factories" outside city limits. (No doubt driving 20 miles out of the city to dance beats all promiscuity out of you).
    I'm moving back to Bangalore after 3 years now and clearly nothing has changed :)

  19. Rashmi:

    Can you remind the pseudo-morality police in Mumbai, of this adage for me, please?!
    'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.'

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