Initially, her lack of dancing skills proved to be a hurdle in getting a job at a dance bar and she had to be satisfied with a job in a typical service joint at Malad, which fetched her a monthly income of Rs 7,000. A cut from the income went to her uncle.
Sanam’s first few years were spent in abject poverty in the slums in Borivli. Often, she had to stay in the open after officials demolished the slums. Her life at the service bar was no better than that of a sex worker as she was made to solicit customers. Also, she was abused by waiters.
That, however, did not dampen the spirits of this girl, hailed from the lands which gives strong grit and never quit attitude. This Allahabadi girl also had big big dreams, and she gradually learnt to dance, which eventually attracted the attention of some prosperous customers who helped her get a job at Campus Bar in Vilé Parle. After that, there was no looking back.
Soon, younger sister Pinky joined Sanam and started working in the same bar. The duo would earn anything between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh per night, considered to be one of the best in the suburbs. In between, Sanam had an intimate relationship with a customer, a rich oil trader from Tardeo, who gifted her a bungalow at Lokhandwala. Later, the relationship became so intense that she stopped working at the bar. Pinky also shifted from Campus to Bollywood (another bar) after Sanam got pregnant.
Today, Sanam still lives in the same bungalow at Lokhandwala with an extended family of 10. Her son is studying in a frontline boarding school in Bangalore.
THE CLOSING of dance bars may have rendered some bar girls jobless, but for dancers like Sanam, Baby, Tarannum, it’s business as usual. Only the dance shows have made way for private mujras.
Sources close to the millionare bar girls say that her involvement in private mujras has now increased compared to earlier days. “Now that dance bars are closed, this is the new alternative for her,” said a source.
Last month, the I-T Department had raided the houses of Tarannum and Shaheen Khan, and recovered about Rs 4 Millions in cash and jewellery from there. According to I-T officials, the former owns a bungalow at Andheri (West), which costs about Rs 10 Millions.
Despite the raids, Tarannum is busy earning money. She is said to be fetching as much as Rs 40,000 per mujra, say those in the know. These are organised in and around Mumbai every week.
And, it’s not just Tarannum, about 500-odd bar dancers from Mumbai are said to be still making big bucks from private dance shows.
Sources in the now-closed dance bars say that mujras are being organised in some bungalows at Madh Island and some neighbouring areas. Several bungalows and resorts in Panvel, Shahpur, Bhiwandi, Virar and some on the old Mumbai Pune highway are raking in the moolah by renting out places for private mujras.
Moreover, with the closing of the dance bars, private mujras have become a weekend trend. Many people from Mumbai go to these places on Saturdays and Sundays, the mujras are generally organised on Saturday nights.
About the rent, sources said that bungalow and resort owners charge anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000 per day. While resorts give out small halls for six hours, the suites are given for a whole day. Rent charges for these rooms do not include food and liquor.
The clientelé who come for such private mujras are the ones who used to frequent dance bars regularly before the ban was implemented. They are mostly from rich families and tend go in group to see their favourite dancers at private mujras. Many of such girls are also in touch with their customers and fix the time and venue for such programmes.
As for the dancers, they are said to be earning from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per mujra. But the ones like Tarannum earn more.
The customers are also spending heavily as now they go to see dance once a week. Earlier they used to regularly visit dance bars and spend money there.
Mujra hubs Popular destinations Madh Island, Panvel, Shahpur, Bhiwandi, Virar Mujra rate (ordinary) Rs 10,000 per performance Mujra rate (private) Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh per performance.
And yes! Gone are days of customers from middle class, who would shower only Rs 10 notes on dancers. Not a regular clientele, these customers would nurse single beer bottle for and would spend hours on end.
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