Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani Video Editor: Purnendu Preetam
Club Tito’s is Goa’s, and possibly India’s, oldest nightclub that started attracting domestic and international tourists from the early 1970s. At a time when the rest of India was yet to be exposed to this ‘western culture’, the hospitable Goa had become a safe haven for hippies and fatigued souls from across the world who felt welcomed with open arms to this place.
A couple of decades later, even as Indian tourists started discovering this place that was unlike the rest of India, it was Club Tito’s that perhaps served as an entry point into this Utopian world.
That’s the thing about Utopia, though. It ends abruptly, giving a harsh reality check to the dreamer. Club Tito’s finds itself in a similar space right now. After about 50 years of being in operation, the iconic nightclub is on the verge of being sold off for good.
Tito's owner Ricardo D'Souza spoke with The Quint on selling the iconic club, the harassment, and the corruption he faced over the years.
''Eventually, all it needs is a straw to break the camel's back. I am not going to do any business in Goa till the systems are brought into place. I don't blame any politician, I blame the system.''Ricardo D'Souza, Tito's Owner
A few days ago, Ricardo Joseph D'Souza took to Facebook to break the unpleasant news. The post read, “It is with sadness but with anger that we have sold our entire business in Goa. I personally have suffered the least as I was compensated adequately and even my future generations won’t have to work.”
Ricardo's post on Facebook.
The post sent waves of shock and disbelief among every person across the world who has witnessed the magic of Club Tito’s, more so among every Goan that identified with the brand as Goa’s very own!
'I Have Taken A Stand for the Businessmen of Today'
Speaking about the early days when DeSouza used to sell sandwiches and tea under a coconut tree and slowly build himself and bought Tito's club.
DeSouza says that the move was influenced by the harassment by officials from the police department, PDA, Coastal Regulation Zone, NGOs, panchayat, and sarpanches, Block Development Officers, Deputy Collectors, and other bureaucrats. For most, this was yet another Goan brand, perhaps its biggest, biting the dust being sold to an ‘outsider’!
It's not about what happened now, it's a culmination of 40 years of me working hands on and getting hit everyday by some bureaucrats. And, it eventually needed a straw to break the camel's back. So, the last straw came with the police and deputy collector. I was just fed up.Ricardo De Souza, Tito's Owner
DeSouza says that by speaking about the corruption faced by business owners, he will try to make sure that this does not happen to other businessmen. Give voice to those who are afraid to speak about this 'corruption endemic'.
'I Might Reconsider'
When asked if there was any possibility of reconsidering the move, Ricardo admitted that the deal wasn’t sealed yet. With all the legal formalities still pending, Ricardo admitted that the future course of action depended on his meeting with local MLA Michael Lobo. Lobo also happens to be Goa’s former tourism minister.
Politics on the cards?
People in the know and Ricardo's close friends, on the condition of anonymity, also sparked rumours of his strong wish of joining politics. A vocal supporter of BJP, Ricardo on several occasions in the past has expressed interest in joining politics. With Ricardo being explicitly vocal about the corruption and extortion of businesses in Goa and his wish to now fight it, rumour mills are abuzz about him joining BJP.