India is to get its first Playboy club next month, with demurely dressed bunnies and a focus on glamour instead of sex.
The club’s promoters are striving to recast the Playboy brand so that it will not spark a backlash in a country which has only slowly come to terms with deep kisses on the big screen.
There will be no nudity, but there will be bunnies – though whether they will wear bodices, bunny ears and cotton tails is in question.
“Bunnies are an integral part of Playboy culture,” said Sanjay Gupta, the chief executive of PB Lifestyle. “We will have bunnies but, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, we are toning down the costume. We are working very closely with Playboy to design a bunny outfit for India.”
He said the details of the Indian bunny outfit were “confidential.”
PB Lifestyle is a Mumbai-based company with an exclusive licence from Playboy Enterprises to open Playboy clubs, hotels, bars and cafés and sell Playboy branded merchandise in India.
The first club – a 22,000-square-foot open-air property on Candolim beach in Goa – is scheduled to open in mid-December, followed by a second club in the southern city of Hyderabad early next year.
Though Indians may soon get to mingle with bunnies on the beach, they cannot buy Playboy magazine, which is banned throughout the country.
Mr Gupta said he wanted to separate the Playboy brand from its adult associations, rebranding it as an aspirational lifestyle choice for the growing Indian middle class.
He pledged to build clubs that his wife would want to visit, and said he was planning an aggressive advertising campaign to strip his venture of any adult associations.