Royalty club's back, but without the bang

Known for falling afoul of Bandra residents time and again for disturbing peace in the neighbourhood, the club once popular as Poison reopens with Sohail Khan as owner and wants to maintain a low-profile this time around

Party animals have another haunt to hang out at. Royalty, the snazzy nightclub, once owned by DJ Aqeel, then by actress Shilpa Shetty's tycoon hubby Raj Kundra, and now run by actor Sohail Khan, reopened after a year-long shutdown in the face of bitter opposition from residents of Waterfield Road in Bandra (West).

The club opened in November after a year-long shutdown following complaints from residents of Waterfield Road

According to a source, the club restarted in mid-November after Khan and co-owner Prashant Gunjalkar performed a rite before inaugurating it.

Given the controversies the club's previous avatars have run into time and again since its inception, it was only sensible that the owners should start it with a prayer. This reporter also learned that the club wants to lay low on the radar awhile.

"The club owners performed a puja before starting it. They decided to have a low-profile start, without publicising the reopening of the club, as it has been surrounded by controversy for long," said the source.

Past hiccups
The joint located on Waterfield Road earlier housed the Poison pub, before then owner DJ Aqeel sold it to the actor-industrialist couple. But before the rebranded club could make it to the A-list of elite-places-to-be-at, the lavish IPL opening party the celebrity couple threw last year fetched it unflattering publicity.
The party took place during the IPL 2010 and cricketers from IPL team Rajasthan Royals, also owned by Shetty-Kundra, were on the guest list sprinkled with other popular names.

Apparently, the bash began late in the night, and celebrities continued to walk in and out throughout the wee hours, leaving their vehicles parked all over the street, causing traffic snarls and nuisance for residents of the area.

The day after turned nasty when chagrined residents filed an official complaint with the Bandra police, alleging disturbance to peace. The club earned a bad name from neighbourhood ALMs that complained about the bother it created for residents.

Ever since, the club's doors have remained shut. Royalty was only given out for film shoots. Also, as MiD DAY had reported earlier ('Poison shock for Raj Kundra', December 17, 2009), Poison was running illegally as it was in the basement of a residential building in Bandra (West), which is against the BMC norms.

Owner speaks

Confirming the fresh start, Gunjalkar said, "We reopened the club recently and have acquired all necessary permissions and licences one needs to run a club." Open to public from Thursday to Saturday after
9.30 pm, it is given for shooting the rest of the week.

Said a resident of Waterfield Road, "Since last week, we have seen movement in and around the club. There haven't been any traffic snarls or any other commotion that might disturb the peace of residents yet. We hope things remains this way,"

BMC says

Dr Bhawzankar from BMC's H-West ward said, "The club's licence is active till December 31, but we are investigating why the place was closed and whether all necessary permits have been acquired to run the place."

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