Prime Minister's demonetisation drive has not only hit the opposition parties but also the star-studded party circuit in the Capital, with many hotels forced to cancel their New Year Eve events and celebrities jetting abroad for more moolah.
The hotels that have not cancelled their events will only feature in-house DJs instead of the usual entourage of Bollywood celebrities, leading dance troops and stand-up comedians, as most of the business is strictly cash-driven.
According to sources, no actor or international artist has been booked to perform in Delhi and NCR so far. The only big names confirmed so far is Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh, who was recently seen in Udta Punjab. He will perform at a five star hotel in Gurugram.
Artists and event organisers said that all the leading stars are either performing abroad or they have chosen not to attend any party as most venues do not have the money to pay their rates. A source told MAILTODAY that an international rapper who will perform at a nightclub here had to cut his fee from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. Subir Malik, pianist with the band Parikrama, said, "Demonetisation has hit a lot of industries across the country, and business for musicians is down. It's impossible to make a new debit or credit card for everyone in such a short time." Malik said that 95% gigs have gone to DJs, not bands, because it's more expensive to hire a band.
He said that bands are also reducing their fee this year. "I'm telling everyone that they should go for whatever they get. For example if a band which usually charges 3.5 lakh per gig gets Rs 2.5 lakh gig right now, I'd tell them to take it," he said.
A host of shows scheduled for New Year have also been cancelled at the eleventh hour after organisers failed to arrange the cash needed to pay vendors. "It is recession for party venues as they don't have money to pay to their vendors and to artists," said Yogesh Dixit of YS event. Sources said that nearly 80-90 per cent of the bookings were done in cash.
"Table booking at nightclubs used to cost over a lakh for New Year parties, but they are down this year as most bookings were done by industrialists and builders in cash. Now they are avoiding such bookings," said a manager of a popular night club. Even the restaurants and bars at popular party places like Connaught place and Hauz Khass are feeling the heat of demonetization.
"Restaurants are trying to keep the package easy on the pocket this year," said hospitality sector veteran Umang Tewari. Some industry experts claim that demonetisation had very little impact on corporate and young tech savvy crowd. "Delhi is a different market as compared to Bangalore, which is mostly cash driven. This will set the right tone for the future forcing both organizers and party goers use digital money and bring more transparency," said leading hospitality consultant Pravesh Pandey.