MUMBAI - Even though Playboy magazine is seen as having only a remote chance of being launched in India, the first Playboy Club is set to open in the country's Western resort state of Goa before the end of the year, with more Playboy-branded locations expected to follow.
“The first upscale club with 22,000 square feet of space will open by mid-December on North Goa's Candolim beach, making it the first beach location for Playboy globally,” said Sanjay Gupta, CEO of PB Lifestyle, the Mumbai-based India brand licensee of Playboy Enterprises.
PB Lifestyle - co-owned by media and real estate entrepreneurs Parag Sanghvi and Jeetendra Jain - has earmarked an investment of $38 million (Rupees 2 billion) over the next five years to launch the Playboy brand across multiple "formats."
The company has plans to open more than 120 Playboy-branded locations, covering a mix of retail outlets, clubs, hotels and fashion cafes, over the next 10 years. Playboy merchandise will also be a focus area in India given that products branded with the iconic bunny rabbit logo are already sold in over 25,000 stores in 180 countries.
Anticipating potential concerns and criticism, the promoters are clear that “there will absolutely be no nudity" at the Playboy Club. "The bunnies will be suited to Indian sensibilities and moral values,” said Gupta. “It will be the lifestyle and glamour quotient that will attract members and walk-ins.”
Recently, Bollywood starlet Sherlyn Chopra became the first Indian to pose nude for the U.S. edition of Playboy with her photo spread expected to be published later this month.