Richard Gere Meets Shilpa Shetty With A Kiss

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, as what they said.

In case you didn’t recognize them, the two people in the picture is Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty. Shilpa is the Big Winner of the 2007 British reality TV Celebrity Big Brother.

A few months back Shilpa Shetty was on the verge of oblivion, awaiting a fate that is destined for most almost-there-but never-really-there stars. Then Big Brother happened and someone made a racist remark against her and she became an instant celebrity. Her world changed forever, and she was back in demand. What years of acting could not do for her, a derogatory remark had done in an instant. No wonder, these days, most wannabe stars want to take the short cut of a publicity stunt to success.

Now, call it coincidence or luck or what you will, Shilpa Shetty is in the midst of another controversy and this time she is in good comapny as she shared the stage, and something else, with none other than Richard Gere.

What happened on stage can be summed up in this one picture.( Photograph source : Getty pictures). They say, a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is definitely worth a thousand words and then some more.

Richard Gere is no stranger to India. He has been coming to India on a regular basis for almost 25 years now, and is familiar with Indian culture and society, as he has himself said on many occasions. Shilpa Shetty has been a celebrity in India for a while now. But it seems that both of them misjudged the amount of openness in Indian society.

Not long after the "kissing" happened, the news channels began to air the footage again and again and yet again. Everyone felt outraged except maybe Shilpa who said later that the reaction to the "kiss" made India look "regressive". Sections of society did not agree with Shilpa, and there were demonstrations at many places demanding that both the persons involved issue a public apology.

So, the question here is, is Indian society really "regressive"? Or are there other factors involved in making an issue out of such a non-issue? What do you think?


Anonymous said...

For a society that has been deeply damaged by colonialism can one think of a more offensive image of a white guy grabbing a daughter of India and forcing himself upon her? It is so symbolic. It is right in line with the image of the white colonist forcing himself upon a country and just taking whatever he wants.

Richard Gere should pay the ultimate price for this.

What bothers me however is those who would blame Shilpa Shetty for this.

Too often women victims of rape in India are blamed for what happened like they wanted the rape to happen or it was their fault the rape happened even when the truth might be that the rapists brutalized them and they couldn't stop the rape from happening.

While of course Richard Gere didn't actually rape Shilpa Shetty, I still see this whole "Blame the Woman Victim" dynamic in place. From what I saw from the video Shilpa Shetty did nothing to cause Richard Gere to act the way he did, and was in fact as shocked as everyone else was that he would act in such a disgraceful manner.

We need to defend this daughter of India, not blame her for this white man's assault upon her.

Rob said...

So, the question here is, is Indian society really "regressive"? Or are there other factors involved in making an issue out of such a non-issue? What do you think?

I don’t think this is an issue, for me it was not an act to be shamed upon by the Indian nation. Anyway, I am not a citizen of India and I may never know about their culture but for the eyes of the whole world, I don’t think that was an issue… the real issue here was the reactions of the people about the incident.