Math Fight!
A Small Step To Jihadism

What's In A Kiss?

Richard Gere hugged and kissed Shilpa Shetty on stage in India.

Akram writes:

I generally don't pay attention to the comings and goings of the man-children that inhabit Hollywood.  Richard Gere's Indian imbrolio, however, is eminently newsworthy and deserving of analysis.  It reminds us of the continuing existence of sexism, racism and colonial arrogance in the world.

A person who sees that in a kiss -- an affectionate gesture -- is a fanatic. Furthermore, Akram devalues real sexism and racism by unloading on such a trivial incident involving two different celebrities.

Here's what Shilpa Shetty had to say:

"I understand this (kissing) is his culture, not our's. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such a manner."

"I understand people's sentiments, but I don't want a foreigner to take bad memories from here," Shetty said.

I still remember watching her first movie (Baazigar) in Pakistan in 1994 with some relatives. In the filim, Shilpa appeared in a swimsuit for the obvious reason of showing some skin. A husband of a relative who was also watching the movie started talking about how that lewd filthiness was going to be the end of Islamic civilization; as though watching Indian actresses in skimpy clothing was the major problem of Muslims or Pakistanis.

It's amusing to read the same level of analysis today.



Trivial in the scheme of things, perhaps, but not trivial in the mindset it seems to reveal.

Actually, the amusing thing here is how unapt your comparison is. I brought up how this episode could be seen to reflect the continued existence of sexism, racism and necolonial attitudes in North/South relations; the man in your anecdote spoke of none of those things, directly or indirectly. Apples and oranges.

Try dispensing a few of those "innocent" surprise kisses to random women in your vicinity in liberal Canada and see how well they react. You'll get slapped.

Josh Scholar

If Isaac tried to kiss random Canadian women would that be an example of "sexism, racism and neocolonial attitudes in South/North relations?"


but it was Richard Gere, he is a panty dropper. no woman on earth would slap him for kissing her on the cheek. not even a lesbo or canadian. it was on the cheek too....come on?


He didn't try to do that to random women on the street. I bet he would have been in far worse trouble for trying to do that in India or Pakistan than he would have in a random part of Canada.


Forgot the most important and telling point. If after viewing this video you don't think his behavior was unusually "forward", if not aggressive, then you're living in another century. And it's not the 20th.

It's not all that surprising that Shetty defended him. Whatever her real views, she has little to gain professionally from joining in the criticism and alienating an intergalactic star with oodles of juice in Hollywood world. To the contrary, the smart move would be to play the gracious peacemaker.

In any case, her fretting about the dire prospect of him leaving India with a bad impression doesn't inspire confidence in her understanding of the issues involved. She may not have been offended--though she clearly was quite surprised by his sudden and continued advances--but far more important issues are involved here than the disappointment of an obnoxious tourist.

Josh Scholar

-but far more important issues are involved here than the disappointment of an obnoxious tourist.

The only real question here is "Is Richard Gere a masher?"

And if you think that's an important question then you know absolutely nothing about human beings. But then religious people are always hysterics over anything related to sexuality. Frightened of your own dicks - it's absurd to posit a god who's even more obsessed with your dick than you are... Mental illness, that's all religion is.


Shilpa looked surprised/delighted/offended all at the same time. She had that look exactly because she was fully aware of the fallout and ramifications, living in a sexist society.

Josh Scholar

No one will read this but Gere faces Indian arrest warrant

An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Hollywood actor Richard Gere after he kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in public.

Gere, 57, kissed Shetty, 31, several times on the cheek at an Aids awareness event in Delhi earlier this month.

The court in Jaipur in Rajasthan state called it "an obscene act", after a local lawyer filed a complaint.

Gere, who is a frequent visitor to India, told a US TV show that he expected the case to be thrown out.

Speaking on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the actor dismissed the situation as "nothing".

"There is a very small right-wing, very conservative political party in India and they are the moral police in India... they do this kind of thing quite often," he said.

Shetty, who found fame outside India as the winner of Celebrity Big Brother in the UK, has also been asked to appear before the court.

Bigger issue

But her spokesman, Dale Bhagwager, said the actress had not received any court order or summons and was currently away visiting temples.

He said Shetty had not done anything wrong.

"What is there to comment? They were three innocent, natural cute pecks on the cheek," said Mr Bhagwager.

"What can one say, when three pecks can be made into an issue in the land of the Kama Sutra? People should concentrate on the bigger issue of Aids, rather than this."

Dance scene

Photographs of the clinch were splashed across front pages of newspapers in India.

Public displays of affection are still largely taboo in India, and protestors in Mumbai (Bombay) set fire to effigies of Gere following the incident.

Shetty has defended Gere saying that it was all done "in good humour".

"He especially told me to tell the media that he didn't want to hurt any Indian sensibilities," she said.

She said Gere had only been re-enacting a scene from his film Shall We Dance.

Under Indian law, a person convicted of public obscenity faces up to three months in prison, a fine or both.

Gere, star of films such as Chicago and Pretty Woman, is a Buddhist and travels to India frequently to visit the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in the north of the country.

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