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Everything You Need To Know About Kumail Nanjianji’s “Welcome To Chippendale’s”

Everything You Need To Know About Kumail Nanjianji’s “Welcome To Chippendale’s”

Everything You Need To Know About Kumail Nanjianji's "Welcome To Chippendale's"

The multi-talented Kumail Nanjiani brings to life the American dream in Hulu’s latest project, “Welcome to Chippendale’s.” The limited series, previously titled “The Immigrant” follows the life of Chippendale’s founder Somen “Steve” Bannerjee. It has finally been revealed that the highly awaited series will hit Hulu on November 22, 2022.

We all know the award-winning actor, writer, producer, and reel-life superhero Nanjiani, but who is Somen Banerjee?

Though his origins are unclear, some say he came from an upper-middle-class family of printers in Calcutta, India. He most likely moved to America in 1969 where he initially worked at Mattel, the popular toy company. The overly ambitious Indian-American later bought a gas station and then Round Robin, a rock club with his business partner Bruce Nahin. When he struggled to bring in a crowd with various gimmicks which included female mud-wrestling, a Canadian acquaintance named Paul Snider gave him the idea to try male striptease for women, a concept based on the gay clubs that were on the rise at the time with the LGBTQ+ community coming to the forefront. (Snider was a rumored pimp who would later kill his Playboy Playmate wife and himself.)

The male revue show was a hit but soon the company faced issues with dancers going too far with customers, so they rebranded turning something considered scandalous to a classy affair inspired by Playboy clubs. The male dancers were topless but had spandex pants with collars and cuffs, they also treated the women like royalty lighting cigarettes and pouring drinks for them. Even the name “Chippendales” added class as it was the name of a famous British furniture maker. The idea came from the ornate fake Chippendales furniture they had at the club. After raising their standards and making sure their acts were legal, they added theatrical shows with Emmy award-winning producer and choreographer Nick de Noia in 1981 to go national. By this time, there was no stopping Banerjee.

Banerjee’s morals took a backseat with great money and power as he fell into the darker side of his universe. De Noia and Banerjee fell apart due to touring rights and other conflicts. Former dancers also reported that De Noia was difficult to work with because he was controlling and verbally abusive when dancers made mistakes. When De Noia was killed in 1987, it was revealed that Banerjee placed the hit with the help of former Palm Springs police officer and lounge room entertainer Ray Colon. In 1990 and 1991 Banerjee was also caught up in a plot to kill multiple former Chippendale dancers, including dancer and choreographer Michael Fullington because he felt they were competing in the franchise. Colon had agreed to wear a wire to have Banerjee confess to his crime in order to receive a reduced sentence. In the end, Banerjee was arrested and sentenced to 26 years in prison for attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire however, he died by suicide in his prison cell in 1994.


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Though he may never be recognized for his legacy, Banerjee may be one of the most iconic Indian-Americans to date. Banerjee’s tumultuous life has been the focus of multiple films and documentaries, including an upcoming film where Dev Patel will be playing Steve Banerjee. Hulu’s “Welcome to Chippendale’s” writer, Robert Siegel also told Vanity Fair that the series was a complex project that touched on many areas of the immigrant experience.

“”Welcome To Chippendale’s” was a chance to say a lot of things about the American dream, about capitalism, about assimilation, and what it means to be an American,” said Siegel about the series. “It hit a lot of my pleasure buttons. It felt like “Scarface” or “Goodfellas” or “Boogie Nights.” It’s bad people doing bad things. But what differentiates it from another wannabe Martin Scorsese movie is that you take out Tony Montana and put in this nerdy, socially awkward Indian immigrant.”

Nanjiani also told Vanity Fair playing Bannerjee has been his “most challenging job” due to the ” length of the shoot, the content of the scenes, and emotional difficulty of those scenes.” Speaking about series, he said, “It’s one of those things where I just jumped in, and trusted that it’d reveal itself as it goes — and it did.”

Nanjiani shared that his role has been unlike anything else he has played and it has been tolling playing a man so stiff and tightly coiled. The dark comedy thriller will definitely test Nanjiani’s skills and we have no doubt he will succeed in doing it justice.

Be sure to catch Nanjiani as Somen “Steve” Banerjee in “Welcome To Chippendale’s” on Hulu this November. In the meantime, check out more behind-the-scenes looks of Nanjiani as Steve Bannerjee!

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