Bhagyashree is a trained woman bouncer from Ranragini Academy. She came young into this profession, persuaded by her mother, a former domestic help and feisty woman bouncer now. It might seem quite surreal that women from the marginalised section of the society are breaking into a male bastion and often outdoing their male counterparts in a domain dominated by men all over the world.
Bhagyashree and her mother are not the only ones, there is Shweta and there are 537 more women in Pune who have been trained to be bouncers and are garnering applaud from around the globe. “The whole credit goes to Madam,” reiterates Shweta and Bhagyashree, referring to their guardian angel – Deepa Parab. This former actor from Pune runs Ranragini where she trains women from a lesser privileged background to become woman bouncers.
No one has ever become poor by giving- Anne Frank
Shweta became a bouncer after her husband’s accident
“I am training here for the past 7-8 months to become a bouncer. I have always been just a housewife, never considered a career of my own. As luck would have it, my husband met with an accident and failed to continue working. Desperate for some work, any work, I finally ended up with Madam through my friend Sangeeta, another bouncer. Now, as you can see, I am a strong, happy and proud woman,” shares Shweta.
Like Shweta, the women at Ranragini all have compelling life stories of struggle, abuse, insult and a final triumph.
How Deepa Parab started Ranragini Academy
India was hardly acquainted with a woman bouncer even a few years ago. Today, they can be found in almost every major city of the country, thanks to Deepa who started it all.
“I wanted to join the Maharashtra Police and was training myself for the same. However, for certain personal setbacks, it did not happen in time. Meanwhile, I used to work as a makeup artist in the film industry, which also landed me a few small roles in Marathi films. During my time in the industry, I used to spot leading actors and actresses being accompanied by these heavily-built, strong men in black uniforms. I came to know that they are the ‘bodyguards’. I was intrigued and wanted to join them. Since I already underwent police training, I soon started working as a female bouncer along with very few other ladies,” recalls Deepa.