Indian actress Sherlyn Chopra, the first Indian woman to pose nude for Playboy, appears at a press event in Mumbai in July. Playboy magazine is banned in India, but Playboy bunnies will make a demure debut when the first Playboy club opens next month.
Indian actress Sherlyn Chopra, the first Indian woman to pose nude for Playboy, appears at a press event in Mumbai in July. Playboy magazine is banned in India, but Playboy bunnies will make a demure debut when the first Playboy club opens next month. AFP/Getty Images
The Playboy bunny is coming to India — even though the magazine is still banned.
India, like many other conservative countries, has not permitted Playboy to appear on newsstands. But the brand still plans to come to India in a big way.
Over the next 10 years, around 120 Playboy venues are expected to open across India, including bars, clubs, fashion cafes and stores. The first Playboy club will open next month in the holiday destination of Goa.
But PB Lifestyle, the firm spearheading the Playboy India campaign, insists the brand will represent luxury, not sex.
"We are clear about one thing," Sanjay Gupta, PB Lifestyle's chief executive, told India's Economic Times. "There will absolutely be no nudity. The bunnies will be suited to Indian sensibilities and moral values."
Goa's tourism director, Nikhil Desai, warned that obscenity will not be tolerated.
Still, Auda Viegas, who heads a women's group in Goa, expressed concern about Playboy clubs in a country where sex trafficking is a serious problem.
"What system do we have in place to check what's going on inside?" asked Viegas.
India in many ways remains a highly conservative country, where arranged marriages are common and public displays of affection are frowned upon. But many of those centuries-old traditions are being challenged as the country modernizes.
Playboy did not say whether it thought skin-tight bodysuits and cotton tails were permitted under India's moral code.
(Sophia Jones is an intern with NPR News.)