With Ashish Avikunthuk being stopped for his attire in a mall, we speak to city joints about their protocols.
Dress codes in nightclubs and elite establishments have been a topic of debate for a long time now. And just when we thought that we were over the colonial hangover, filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak recently revealed otherwise.
A Facebook post by the director, which triggered an outrage on social media, said, “Denying entry into the neo-colonial clubs of Kolkata is nothing new. But today I was denied entry into the mall because I was wearing a dhoti (which I have been wearing for the last 26 years). On resisting and questioning, I was told that they have orders because of security reasons to prohibit entry of people in lungi and dhoti. I was eventually allowed in because I could argue in English and assert myself. (sic)”
From being refused an entry for wearing open footwear to being dismissed for wearing something too ‘casual’, similar instances are often heard of even in Mumbai.
While some city establishments reserve the right to admissions to curate the kind of crowd that comes in, others just prefer to lay out their rules straight. Arjun Raj Kher, business head of restaurants Hitchki Powai and Henpecked Kalaghoda says, “Rules and regulations for entering a bar/pub are the age limits. It essential that we must keep the rights of admission reserved, as the bars don’t want to cater to an audience which could later create havoc after a few drinks, or make other guests feel threatened or uncomfortable. Other than that, we ensure that we have the right crowd, which adds to the feel and ambience of the place, as it's the audience you cater to which builds the reputation of a bar/pub,” he adds.
The filmmaker was barred from entering Quest Mall in south Kolkata for wearing a dhoti, an allegation denied by the mall authorities. Mumbai’s Inorbit mall believes in allowing people from all age groups and ethnicities, “We do not follow any dress code. We welcome shoppers of all age groups and ethnicity. Inorbit adheres to the safety and security protocols as laid down by the government authorities and prohibits entry to those who do not adhere to the prescribed protocols,” explains Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit malls.
It also depends on how the place has positioned itself in the market. Worli’s nightclub Matahaari doesn’t allow visitors in a traditional attire, “Our club is known for its concept of the Dutch danseuse. We retain an international format, where the dress code is certainly a criterion for entry. With full respect to traditional and ethnic dressing, it, unfortunately, creates a misleading perception of being a place that plays Indian music or hosts traditional events. Our theme certainly isn't in sync with traditional Indian activities. While we are happy to have guests dressed in a fusion of Indian and western, authentic and traditional wear is where we are compelled to draw the line,” states the club spokesperson, firmly.