16, Oct 2015
Soon after the 2005 ban by the Maharashtra government, jobless girls chose waitressing, orchestra or mujra to fill their stomachs.
Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala
Mumbai Updated: Oct 16, 2015, 4:40
On Thursday morning, the Navratri festivities had doubled on the narrow rat-infested lanes of Mumbai Sangeet Kalakar Mandal, a close-knit ghetto of former bar dancers in Grant Road. The television sets were switched on playing the Supreme Court news, and young dancers walked around in their night gowns, a smile on their faces. Loud talks that the business would resume could be heard over bhajans.
“I came to Mumbai in 2007 hoping to become a dancer. I have heard a lot about bar dancing but never seen it. We are hopeful that licenses would be given speedily so that I can dance,” says 24-year-old Vandana, from Raipur, Chattisgarh. She performs mujra along with other women to earn money.
The bylanes, commonly referred to as Congress House, has 103 rooms. From 15 girls squeezed in a single room before 2005, the doom in bar dancing led to a slow exodus to other cities and professions. “Now, there are hardly two or three girls living in a room,” says Pinky, the area’s president.