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Lights out

The concept of needing licences to play music in pubs is so outrageous that it justifies the phrase: ?It only happens in India.?

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 03:26 IST

The concept of needing licences to play music in pubs is so outrageous that it justifies the phrase: ‘It only happens in India.’ For, by definition, anyone with two functional brain cells will tell you that pubs and clubs are defined by the fact that they play — you guessed it! — music.

To begin with, the 1.30 a.m. deadline in Mumbai is a violation of any city’s coolness quotient. The police argue that deadlines need to be imposed to curb crime. How about the police curbing crime that doesn’t emanate from late nights and playing music?

The answer may lie somewhere else: there may be nothing left to license, so the government gets creative with its licence permit raj. There is solace though. Pubs that make losses or are forced to shut down can now sell their licences by the kilo to pay off creditors. How long will it be before the government crosses the line into our bedrooms? How about a rule that allows sex only up to 12.30 a.m.? The happy hours rule could also apply.

Mumbai may be on a slow simmer, but are we licensed to reach boiling point? Get in line. Perching oneself on the higher moral ground is terribly impressive, of course, and we can totally see how it fits into the blueprint of turning Mumbai into Shanghai.

Across the world, coastlines have been utilised to offer a relaxed, vibrant experience with cafés and bars open at all hours. Mumbai has a coastline that could foster and nurture a world-class experience to tourists and locals if allowed to flourish. All the government has to do is stay out of the planning process. Yet, we’re a city of optimists. We are actually convinced of the fantasy that Mumbai can be marketed to the world as a brand. It does inspire some truly memorable catchlines to go with the logo. How about ‘Mumbai, The City Where You Can Catch Up On Your Sleep’, or ‘Mumbai — Why Party When You Can Play Partypooper’? Move over Ibiza, Mumbai is here.

Meanwhile, the licence to call Mumbai the entertainment capital of India has been revoked until further notice.