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"Don't embarrass Richard Gere ..."

For a section of society, the kiss is the new greeting. Then what is all the furore about? Sidhi Chadha and Malivika Nanda probe.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2012 13:20 IST
Sidhi Chadha and Malivika Nanda
Sidhi Chadha and Malivika Nanda

Did you say "Nahiiiiiin. Not another word on kisses and Miss SS (arre Shilpa Shetty)"? Stop. Don't turn the page, we are saying it too. Why so much ado about a kiss? Were there no kisses in this country till Richard Gere took a practical class one Sunday afternoon for an audience that had actually assembled for a far grimmer cause?

The initial reaction was one of surprise. Says an eyewitness, "It was very spontaneous. I guess something came over Richard." There was also speculation that it was a publicity stunt. But Nasir, who was anchoring the programme, doesn't buy that one. He says, "Richard liked the way the audience reacted to the kissing act and played to the gallery" But the overpowering impression was of outrage.

Think about it, be it film awards private bashes, sangeet ceremonies or natty cocktails, kissing and air kissing has become the high society's greeting for quite a while now. And if we don't raise an eyebrow at all those instances why are we raising our hackles over this one?

What does Delhi have to say? Image consultant Dilip Cherian points out that social kissing caught on some time in the last decade. He puts it down to a problem of plenty "There has been a geometric escalation in its quantum."

Singer Palash Sen however is not okay with this form of greeting. He says, "I am extremely uncomfortable with anyone hugging and kissing me. What has happened to the traditional way of greeting?" And fashion designer, Puja Nayyar says, "Women feel uncomfortable when the kiss is forced upon them."

So what is this 'outraged' lady saying? If seeing is believing the pictures reveal a very smiling Shetty. And she has also issued a statement saying, "Richard comes from different culture where kissing is not a taboo. I want people to concentrate on the good things he is doing for AIDS awareness and not embarrass him."If case studies are anything to go by, it looks like the kiss becomes 'problematic' the moment it crosses ethnic boundaries.

Remember Padmini Ko1hapure and Prince Charles, or Shabana Azmi and Nelson Mandela or when Bryan Adams kissed Urmila. Moral of the story: Kisses should never cross. Get it?

First Published: Apr 19, 2007 02:00 IST