Thursday, April 26, 2007

Arrest Warrant For Richard Gere In India

An Indian court issued arrest warrants for actor Richard Gere and star Shilpa Shelty on Thursday for kissing at a public function. Judge Dinesh Gupta issued the warrants in the northwestern city of Jaipur after a local citizen filed a complaint charging that the public display of affection. The man the called affection an "an obscene act" offended local sensibilities. As was reported by the Press Trust of India news agency. Last week Gupta subpoenaed television footage of the event. Such cases against celebrities often filed by publicity seekers are common in conservative India. It was not immediately clear how the warrant would affect Gere, a frequent visitor to India.

Under Indian law a person convicted of public obscenity faces up to three months in prison, a fine or both. Last week, crowds in several Indian cities burned effigies of Richard, after he wrapped the Shilpa Shetty in his arms and kissed her several times on her cheeks during an HIV/AIDS awareness event in the Indian capital. Photographs of the clinch were then splashed across front pages in India where public displays of affection are largely taboo. Shilpa, already well-known in India, became an international star after her appearance on the British reality show Celebrity Big Brother another controversial public appearance. A fellow contestant, Jade Goody, sparked international headlines by making allegedly racist comments to Shilpa. Gere's screen credits include "Chicago," "Pretty Woman" and "An Officer and a Gentleman."


1 comment:

sanjay said...

I was ignoring this story until I saw several Indians (and others) in the blogging community predictably use this opportunity to take cheap shots at Indian culture. I decided to watch the Gere-Shetty "kissing" video on Youtube.

I notice Gere's appearance - unkempt and shirt sleeves hanging out, flapping a bit. By contrast, Shilpa is more suitably attired and it was she who practically pulls him on the stage in an attempt to get the job done.

In terms of the kissing sequence of actions, Gere starts by grabbing and kissing the back of her hand. Even this lingers for a while and clearly interrupts Shilpa's speech at the mike. Gere follows this manouevre by turning his back on the audience, moving squarely in front of Shilpa, grabbing her upper arms and kissing both cheeks. At this point, Shilpa appears to me a bit taken aback; I thought she rolls her eyes a bit, steels herself but allows him to continue, hoping perhaps it will be over soon.

Little did she know that Gere was determined to do a practical demo of safe sex knowing his responsibility as an AIDS awareness campaigner. How better to demonstrate the risks of contracting HIV than to allow someone to deposit significant quantities of strange saliva on your neck and cheek? that too at an AIDS awareness event? Perhaps realizing that he had not yet made enough of a deposit, Gere essentially gets Shilpa in a bearhug and plants several more kisses in any exposed area his puckered lips could reach. Shilpa tries to escape without making a big deal out of it. At one point she is even bent 90 degrees at the waist but to no avail.

The video catches a couple of guests, one of whom was probably Emraan Hashmi, the noted serial kisser of Bollywood - who appear to be watching indulgently initially but that soon starts to fade into sick smiles. The mad moment finally passes.

More than the actual kissing, this appears to be a case of outright sexual assault.