Welcome to the Chippendales is a miniseries starring Kumail Nanjiani in the role of Steve Banerjee, an Indian from Mumbai who created the United States‘ male strip club, The Chippendales, and disrupted the market for adult content consumption.

The series centres around the character of Banerjee and depicts his rise to power and swift fall from grace. Here is all you need to know about the man before diving into the series:

Who was Steve Banerjee?

Somen ‘Steve’ Banerjee was a Bengali Indian who was born on October 8, 1946 in Bombay (now Mumbai). Not much is known about his early life in India. He emigrated to the United States and began working as a Mobil gas station operator before delving into the nightclub business.

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Banerjee’s first nightclub business was running a Los Angeles establishment where female mud-wrestling competitions were a common feature. It was this Los Angeles bar, Destiny II, that Banerjee later renamed Chippendales. The shows he organised with promoter Paul Snider, were not professionally presented. This prompted Banerjee to begin working with Nick De Noia, a producer and an Emmy Award winner.

 In 1979, Banerjee revolutionised the striptease industry by introducing a male stripper to his list of performers at Chippendales. The women-exclusive dance nights at his club became a sensation. Banerjee went on to open nightclubs in Denver, New York, and Dallas. 

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In 1987, Banerjee hired a former police officer to murder De Noia. He had even planned to murder three more people. Banerjee was sentenced to 26 years in prison for his crime. Before the day of his final hearing, the then-48-year-old show promoter committed suicide.

Banerjee married his wife, Irene, in the 1980s and the couple were parents to two children. After the death of her husband, Irene was declared the sole owner of his properties, including the Chippendales establishments.