When it comes to Indian success stories outside of India there are many that come to mind. However, usually they are in studious professions of IT, business, engineering and such. Indians are not really the best at being creative and that shows in how many people venture out of the country in the above-mentioned fields.
But did you know that allegedly the concept of male exotic dance for females at a nightclub was something made popular by an Indian man back in the late 1970s?
Apparently, back in the mid or late 70s, Steve, earlier known as Somen Banerjee came from the coasts of Bombay to the shores of America, the land of dreams in order to find a new future.
But his luck wasn’t exactly on his side as according to sources, Banerjee failed at running a Mobil gas station as well as a backgammon club and therefore decided to venture into the industry of nightclubs.
The Origin of Chippendales
It is said that around 1975 Banerjee bought over a rundown Los Angeles club called ‘Destiny II’ and after some time transformed it into a nightclub where instead of the women dancing erotically, it was the men doing the stripping for a mostly female audience.
This kind of an idea was not the norm in United States as that time women were seen as more seductive and ones who could bring in the money.
Men stripping and performing exotic dances and that too for women was a novel idea, one that quickly brought immense fame and success to Banerjee and his partner/choreographer Nick Denoia.
While Steve would handle the business end of the club, it was Nick who was in charge of getting the performances and the men ready for the audience.
The Chippendales troupe quickly became popular as one of the few male erotic dancer groups and a writer-activist from California named Anirvan Chatterjee wrote in his blog, diasporic.com sometime in the 1980s that, “The Chippendales were almost a household name. Over a million copies of their calendars were sold every year. Touring profits exceeded $25,000 per week, and at its height, Steve controlled an $8-million-a-year business.”
But It All Came Crumbling Down Soon
The success did not last long though as in 1987, Steve’s partner Nick was murdered, something that the former later admitted to being a part of in the court of law.
You should know that Denoia was not some small time person but in fact an Emmy award-winning producer and ex-husband of actress Jennifer O’Neill besides being a choreographer for the Chippendales.
As per reports, Banerjee pled guilty to the murder of Denoia who was shot in the face in April of 1987 while he was in his mid-town Manhattan office.
Along with that, he also pled guilty to the charges of attempted arson, racketeering after a 4 year-long investigation by the FBI into his activities.
Banerjee entered into a plea deal that would have resulted in him losing all of his shares in the Chippendales company, his estate and sentenced him to at least 26 years in jail.
However, before that could be done, Banerjee on October 23rd of 1994 was found dead in his cell apparently having hanged himself.
It is till date not clear as to why he took his own life.
Image Credits: Google Images