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Mumbai's bar girls have taken to stripping? Really?

Mid Day, Mumbai's favourite tabloid newspaper has, so far, carried two supposedly shocking stories on how out-of-work bar girls have taken to topless dancing at private parties and stripping at Bihar election meetings. How accurate are these stories?



9 September, 2005 

Story no. 1: So much for morality, Mr Patil.
By: Nishant A Bhuse
August 18, 2005

Story no. 2: Bar girls strip at Bihar election parties
By: M K Tayal and Nishant Bhuse
September 9, 2005

On the face of it, these were not surprising stories. Everyone knew in in RR Patil's morality zeal, dancers working in Mumbai's (in)famous dance bars would be out of work. Everyone knew that dancing before ogling customers at dance bars was a borderline profession, and once dance bars were closed, many of the unskilled dancers, with no chance of landing a job that pays half as well, would be forced to take to prostitution, stripping, dancing at private parties and may even commit suicide. So Mid Day's story on September 9, 2005 which said that several dance bar girls have been hired by Bihar politicians to dance at their election meetings in front of entire villages did not really surprise anyone. Those who read them probably found them utterly believable.

For those of you who may have missed it, Mid Day had carried a similar story on 18 August, 2005 about dance bar girls who have taken to stripping at private parties. In that story, Mid Day had also published a few fuzzy photographs of topless girls dancing. The headline said: So much for morality, Mr Patil. The story was written by Nishant A Bhuse. "As the 45-minute dance began, notes started to litter the floor like confetti. The women proceeded to undress, walking seductively up to one gleeful guest after another and sitting in their laps," said the story. 

The story also quoted a dance bar girl Muskan who said that "I felt very uncomfortable stripping in front of a crowd at first but paapi pet sab sikha deta hai (hunger teaches you to compromise).

So what's our problem?

The problem is that both the stories carried pictures which were taken from two separate video clips available on the internet at least two months before the dance bar ban came into effect. 

The pictures accompanying the Bihar strip dance story are from a clip known as the Andhra Nude Dance or the Sonpur video (the name Andhra is sometimes replaced by the names of some cities, no one knows exactly where it is from), which has been available on the internet at least since 9 June, 2005. Which means that it was originally taken much, much before Patil's dance bar ban acquired critical mass.

The pictures of the private striptease purportedly by dance bar girls of Mumbai appeared on the Net some time in mid-July. It was then called the Chandigarh MMS clip, and the girls in the video were dancing to the tune of Dum Maro Dum. The August 18 story of Mid Day carries captures from this video clip. (In the video, you could make out turbaned sardars in the background watching the dance)

Of course, the videos could really be that of Mumbai bar girls, and quotes could be true, the unidentified dance organisers who were supplying girls for the strip tease dances and the election meetings -- all this could be genuine. But it is also true that the videos have been on the Net 1-2 months before the dance bar ban.

Were the dance bar girls already so desperate that they had taken to stripping in front of entire villages and in private parties? Even before the dance bar ban? Or are they professional strippers from somewhere else - not Mumbai? Have we been duped by the two Mid Day stories by Nishant A Bhuse and M K Tayal? Or were they the ones who were duped by someone who palmed off these old video clips to them? We have no idea. Over to you, Mid Day.



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