Meet Manjit Singh Sethi, Messiah Of Mumbai’s Dance Bar Girls, Who Stood Up To A Don

With Mumbai dance bars making a comeback soon, no one is more happy than Dance Bar Association President, Manjit Singh Sethi, who spearheaded the cause for reopening the dance bars since 2006. (He had filed a petition in Bombay High Court on the behalf of Mumbai dance bars.)


Sethi, who had also lent his support to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his cause for a Jan Lokpal Bill, is a self-proclaimed ‘krantikari‘. His belief is that no large-scale movement can be successful only on the basis of non-violence; a struggle is equally important.

In an interview in 2011, he had said:

“Any large-scale movement can never be successful only on the basis of non-violence. Militant struggle is equally important… I want to be a krantikari as it’s not a title but a feeling. The role of Bhagat Singh in the country’s freedom struggle was as important as that of Mahatma Gandhi.”

Dadar based Sethi, a father-figure to dance bar girls, has already been attacked twice for standing up for his cause.


India TV News

File photo of Chhota Shakeel. India TV News

It is also suspected that it was notorious Chhota Shakeel’s men who had attacked Sethi as he refused to give the don’s men hafta (extortion money).

Taking all precautions since the attack, Sethi not only has guards around him but also carries two revolvers. He also has a double-barrel gun on the wall of his office. Yet he remains undeterred.

After the 2006 ban, Sethi shut down his dance bar, Karishma, and opened a restaurant in its place.

But even though he was forced to close his dance bar, Sethi refused to quit from the post of president of the dance bar association till the the court decided to rule in favour of reopening them.


Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to overturn the 2006 ban with some strict guidelines, which are still being discussed.


Some of these restrictions are:

  • Only 4 dancers would be allowed per bar;
  • CCTVs are a must in these bars;
  • Minors can’t perform;
  • Dancers are not allowed to consume alcoholic substances;
  • No-smoking in these bars, no showering of notes, no getting near dancers and a dress code must for the dancers.
Sethi was externed from the city of Mumbai in 2007 for alleging that an aide of then Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil had approached him and asked for bribe to withdraw the ban on dance bars.

But even as the dance bars do reopen, Sethi might not be back in the business. The success of the family restaurant he opened has been perhaps one of the reasons.

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