Actor Richard Gere has sparked protests in India after kissing Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty at an Aids awareness rally in New Delhi.
Demonstrators in Mumbai (Bombay) set light to effigies of the Hollywood star, while protesters in other cities shouted “death to Shilpa Shetty”.
The protesters said Gere insulted Indian culture by kissing the hand and face of the Bollywood actress.
Public displays of affection and sex are still largely taboo in India.
Shetty downplayed the incident, saying “it was not so obscene”.
“This was not such a big thing for people to over-react in such a manner,” the actress told the Press Trust of India news agency.
“I understand people's sentiments, but I don't want a foreigner to take bad memories from here. I understand this is his culture, not ours,” she added.
Anjali Gopolan, head of Indian Aids prevention group the Naz Foundation, said: “I think he responded as an actor. He was playing to the gallery. I don't see anything bad.”
The kissing scenes were regularly played on Indian TV, with some viewers commenting on Gere's actions, while Indian newspapers carried the picture on their front pages.
Indian star Shilpa Shetty won the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother
The Aids awareness rally focussed on India's truck driving community, with Gere leading proceedings by shouting “no condom, no sex” in Hindi.
The crowd whooped with delight and whistled as the 58-year-old clasped Shetty and kissed her on the face several times.
After the actress recovered her balance, Gere offered her a gallant bow.
Protesters said his embrace of one of the country's leading ladies had been “vulgar” and demanded an apology from the film star.
NB Everyone would have their own opinion, whether it was in good taste or not, me I think a pect on the cheek would have suffice.
Well, uh… this needs to be in the Bollywood section…
I need to move it… hope that's OK… sorry!
It is not a Bollywood topic per se, Aids, Shilpa and Richard in this instance is a General Topic, but its ok to put it where ever you feel applicable.
On a personal note, I felt that Richard Gere should have shown respect for the Indian Customs. Agreed that this is the 21st Century. But that Customs has been there for centuries, and should have been respected.
If one does not look carefully, he/she might have an idea that Shilpa is gasping for breath whilst Richard is choking her………ofcourse this is not the case.
It was a little over but not vulgar. Imagine the protests if the kiss was on the lips.
Why on earth did he kiss her like that?
Errr why did who kiss who like what exactly??? Why are u watching such adult rated stuff kavi ..huh Roflmao
Not over the top.
Unnecessary is more like it!