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India Refuses Permission For Country's First Playboy Club

Indian Bollywood film actress Sherlyn Chopra at a media  event in August for her appearance in  <em>Playboy</em> magazine in Mumbai.
AFP/Getty Images
Indian Bollywood film actress Sherlyn Chopra at a media event in August for her appearance in Playboy magazine in Mumbai.

Hugh Heffner's empire has run afoul of conservative politicians in India, who have decided to halt plans for the country's first Playboy Club.

PB Lifestyle, the Indian firm with rights to the Playboy brand, had hoped that the club in the southwestern state of Goa would be the first of eight to be constructed over the next three years. They were hoping for as many as 120 such clubs in the coming decade.

But that now looks to be on hold. Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who leads a government dominated by the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, gave the plan a thumbs down on Tuesday for what he called "technical" reasons.

"The Playboy club's application for setting up the facility in beach shack would be rejected as shack licences are usually given to individuals and not to the companies," Parrikar told the state assembly.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Goa "open-air club" was to have been located on Candolim beach in the former Portuguese colony, a favorite seaside destination for many foreign travelers.

On the Playboy India website on Tuesday, an announcement still reads: "It's official. The legendary Playboy Clubs are coming to India, and so are the Playboy Bunnies." There's also a link on the page to Playboy founder Hugh Heffner, who says he is "thrilled to be opening Playboy clubs in India."

The WSJ reports that Michael Lobo, a BJP member of the state assembly for Goa, threatened to go on a hunger strike if the club were built:

"Playboy is nothing but a glorified dance bar or a glorified prostitution joint," he told India Real Time last week, adding that he was worried the clubs would turn Goa — already popular with partygoers from around the world — into a "sex tourism destination."

The announcement comes just months after Bollywood film star Sherlyn Chopra became the first Indian model to pose nude for Playboy magazine.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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