Gere’s Bollywood nightmare

Monday, 23 April 2007

From the pages of The Age newspaper (Melbourne):

Three lawyers have filed complaints in Indian courts against
Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty
for kissing at a public function, a news report said today.

In his complaint, attorney Poonal Chandra Bhandari accused the
actors of committing “an obscene act” in a public place, which
India’s conservative society cannot tolerate, PTI said.

Two other lawyers filed another complaint in a court in
Ghaziabad, a town on the outskirts of New Delhi, against Shetty and
private television channels for showing videos of the kissing
incident, the news agency added.

Such cases against celebrities – often filed by publicity
seekers – are common in ultra-conservative India. They add to a
backlog of legal cases in the country that has nearly crippled the
judicial system.

The complaints filed yesterday came a day after angry crowds in
several Indian cities burned effigies of Gere after he wrapped
Shetty in his arms and kissed her several times on her cheeks
during an AIDS awareness event in the Indian capital.

US actor Richard Gere holds Indian actress Shilpa Shetty in a sweeping embrace during an event for HIV-AIDS awareness in New Delhi.

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2 Responses to “Gere’s Bollywood nightmare”

  1. Scott Says:

    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.

  2. Desi Says:

    Scott, your problem seems to be with the fact that Gere is white and Shilpa brown. Almost seems as if you would not have a problem if Gere was also brown or the skin colours were reversed.

    I don’t see what Gere’s actions had to do with skin colour or colonialism esp. as America has never been a coloniser in India at all. Take offence on the basis of this being alien to Indian culture (that too is questionable in metro India) but to make this out to be some form of colonial imperialism seems to me to be unwarranted.

    And Shilpa herself seemed surprised but hardly ‘shocked’ in the video that I saw.


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