This Navratri, several high-profile mandals in Mumbai have, for the first time, sought the services of women bouncers to calm out-of-control revelers. Diplomatic finesse and a stern demeanour works more effectively than sheer brawn, say organisers.
Ghatkopar Gujarati Samaj, which is holding a Navratri Mahotsav at Police Chowky Ground in Ghatkopar, has hired 12 women bouncers. This is in addition to the usual 50-odd men security guards that the popular event, which is expecting around 1,000 participants daily during the nine-day revelry, hires.
Jitendra Mehta, the group’s president, said the move would make the women participants more at ease. “Men are always ready to come to blows. Women, we hope, will be more calm and better adept at mollifying tricky situations,” Mehta said.
This does not mean that the softer bouncers plan to go easy on the unruly crowds. Pooja Kothkar, who is in her 30's and is part of the 12-women security team, said she could be a toughie if the situation arose. “We always take the troublesome person in the side and reason. But we can throw someone out if needed,” said Kothkar, who said she was an athlete before joining security agencies.
Umesh Lokhande, the area officer of Andheri-based Industrial Security Consultant Power Limited, the agency providing the security cover to the Samaj, said the demand of women bouncers was on a rise in general, even as it was providing the service to a Navratri celebration for the first time in its 15-year history. The price that each woman bouncer commands, said Lokhande, was around Rs. 1,500 per evening.
Gurmeet Singh Shera, the owner of Tiger Security which is providing the cover at Goregaon Sports Club where singer Falguni Pathak is set to perform, said that 10 women bouncers will man the nine-day event along with 40 male guards. “For the first time, we also received queries from Navratri mandals in Gujarat, and we are extending this service to three celebrations there. This is besides other queries from Mumbai events,” said Shera.
The move has gone down well with the city police too. DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni, spokesperson for Mumbai police, who says he too had appealed the organisers to beef up security by women guards, including women bouncers, said, “Women are better equipped to deal with issues of women. Participants will find it easier to approach a touch woman guard than a man in case of a problem,” he said.