Turn the clock back, and you’ll see that, as far back as 1933, late Devika Rani kissed her then-husband, Himanshu Rai, in Karma; it was one of the earliest Indian films to feature a kissing scene. In fact, the four-minute kissing scene is believed to be the longest such shot in Indian cinema till date.
Yet, cut to 2014, and Bollywood still seems unable to fully accept kissing scenes as just another aspect of life that’s being depicted on screen. Every time someone does it, it leads to either controversy or debate. As a result, many of Bollywood’s top stars — including Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Sunny Deol — have largely stayed away from kissing on the big screen. And those who have done it repeatedly — like Emraan Hashmi, and now, Alia Bhatt — have earned tags like ‘serial kisser.’
Also read: No kisses please, we're Indian: Censors to have same rules for Hollywood, Bollywood
Salman, in fact, called kissing on-screen “gross” during an interview with film critic Anupama Chopra. He said, “That’s a private moment. I don’t think it looks good… I don’t have respect for the people who do this.”
Interestingly, earlier this month, following allegations of discrepancy between films made here and Hollywood films shown here, the Censor Board decided to clamp down on kissing overall. In fact, a recent release featuring Om Puri and Helen Mirren had to omit a kiss to get a ‘U’ (universal) certificate.
But even as kissing continues to make news, the young crop of actors in Bollywood feels there’s too much brouhaha over it. While Alia Bhatt calls it 'mechanical', Parineeti Chopra says the scenes are just 'technical'.
Sidharth Malhotra: Kissing (on screen) might look enjoyable, but it’s like mathematics or an algebra equation. You are constantly adjusting your kiss for the camera, with things like whose nose will come where, which angle is good to capture it, or whose hand goes where.
Sushant Singh Rajput: Why is everyone so stressed about it? It’s just an innocent way to express a thousand feelings without verbalising it. Just let it be.
Shraddha Kapoor: I wonder why a kiss is such a big deal in today’s day and age? Audiences don’t make a fuss about a kiss. By now, they’re used to it. As for doing kissing scenes, I am quite conservative at heart. I will do them only when necessary.(Quoted from an interview to IANS)
Alia Bhatt: A kiss, like a hug, is a simple and romantic gesture [in movies]. But there’s no romance that goes into kissing, as far as the actor is concerned. It’s very mechanical.
Parineeti Chopra: It’s very technical. It’s much easier to do a crying scene [compared to a kissing scene] because, in a crying scene, you have to perform and emote, but kissing is clinical. Literally, someone is talking into your ear, ‘Look straight, put your head right or left, touch him on the shoulder.’