Shilpa Shetty may have chorused ‘Shut up and Bounce, Baby, Bounce’, during the opening credits of Karan Johar’s Dostana, but Chennai’s bouncers assure us that it is the last thing they can do. Though handling VIP and celebrity guests at pubs are a handful every other night, the biggest problem they face is when foreign guests come to party.
“They just do not understand that we have rules regarding shoes, trousers and ‘stags’ (male guests without a female companion). Whenever we try to politely explain, they start cursing us,” complains Perumal.
Most often the sentences tend to begin and end with the F-word, he adds. “It wouldn’t take us a second to say it back, but restraint is part of the profession.
Even Jacob agrees that he has had his share of threats from foreign guests about how they would lodge complaints against the “ridiculous rules and disrespect” with their consulates. He has even started the practice of keeping old shoes and trousers in the locker room for “extremely” insistent guests.
Though most clubs advertise that they have a strict ‘no-misbehaviour’ policy on their premises, this is only as airtight as the quality of their bouncers. “When a woman complains that a man has touched her inappropriately on the dance floor, we can’t just haul him out and ‘boot’ him. We need to see if he’s well-connected and whether he was actually at fault. This requires tact, especially because most often the guests are very drunk,” he says.
At pubs like 10 Downing Street, the management and the bouncers work as a team, says Saravanan. “We handle situations and don’t allow them to escalate. The management is committed to security,” he says.
The only management they may have to consider getting is anger management. As bouncers recount tales of verbal abuse from drunk kids and industrialists, the amount of repressed pain from the insults received is apparent.