Mr. Richard Gere a Hollywood actor, a Buddhist, a man with a social conscience, who has his political beliefs and works for social causes kisses an Indian star whose ebbing career took an upswing after her gusty personality did an impressive performance in the British reality show “the big brother” It was okay for her, okay for him but there were protests in India.
Let’s examine the undercurrents.
Unlike western countries PDA (public display of affection) is not common in India. You would not see couples’ smooching in street corners, hugging is rare though holding hands and walking is common. You would not find teenagers lost in lip lock. Now if you are a westerner reading this don’t jump to the conclusion that there is no romance in India. Remember guys we gave you the Kama sutra, we are pretty good in sex, and (we are 1 Billion strong). Sexual emotions are wrapped in the privacy of the bedroom or where ever they get private space.
Richard Gere: He is not new to India, he has been here so many times and we presume that he is aware of the sensitivities of the culture of the nation. Then why did he smooch her in public. Did he think that he is not going to get a chance again? Can that be true! Or was he so bowled over by her sexual personality that he could not resist himself and the “man” in him took over.
Shipla Shetty: A very sexy lady, talented dancer, and was a confident personality through out her career in the bollywood film industry. She knows the workings of the industry and has climbed her way to success. She sounded excited that a hollywood star like Mr Gere showed interest in her.
Her response to the incident was interesting. First she said that Richard did not undress me or something… was that a hint to Richard … later she said the effigy burners were a minority. She knows that India protests with bandhs, hartals, & effigy burning. Indians express themselves very emotionally. That is the way it works in India. She also said that we would look stupid in the eyes of the world if India continues to protest.
Some Indians felt let down that after her big win she felt that the opinion of the western world are more important than that of her country men whose drool propelled her to success. Agreed that she is eyeing a career in Hollywood, but that is not a reason for talking bad about her country men. She could have handled it with diplomacy and tact, but tact and diplomacy may not have won the big prize in “Big Brother”.
The kiss as we all know was sexist. And that is the reason for the outrage in India. USA responded angrily for the wardrobe malfunction of Janet. This kiss had an similiar effect on an conversative Indian psyche. India would not have protested if it was “an rubbing cheeks and whistling a kissing sound” kiss as it happens on Hollywood or western award ceremonies.It was not a Madonna and Britney kiss which was voluntary. This was a sexist kiss, & deliberate and uni-sided.Mr Richard Gere would not plant a kiss of this nature with any Hollywood actress on stage.
Mr Vinay Menon wrote in the Toronto star that Indians should get over this and sounded almost advisory. He appeared to be concerned about pleasing someone. The guardian of UK said that Mr Richard may have overstepped.So did CNN. And India got a wind of much ahead of them & protested. Mr Vinay Menon did you miss something ?
In an later interview she jokingly said that she would kill the journalist if he refers to bombay cinema as bollywood. She was asking the journalist,if the french would like french cinema to be referred to as follywood. Now that is the gutsy personality which will propell her. We think she did her best to wriggle herself and Richard out.
As for the kiss itself it was an unwanted intrusion into her life by an great actor who acted in an freakishly amorous way the same way Justin did to Janet.