After her racism issues on UK’s Big Brother, Shilpa Shetty has found herself in the middle of another controversy–this time on home turf.
This past Sunday, Shilpa Shetty along with Sunny Deol and Hollywood actor Richard Gere attended a function in Delhi to promote AIDS awareness among truck drivers. During the event, Richard Gere took Shilpa in his arms and began to kiss her on her cheek and on her hands. It is believed that this was part of the demonstration to show that AIDS can’t be transmitted through kissing. While the crowd didn’t seem to mind, some sections of the Indian public have reacted quite passionately.
Some have engaged in protests which involve burning effigies and posters of Richard as well as Shilpa, in outrage over the kiss. In addition to demanding an apology, one section of the protestors have gone as far to say “Death to Shilpa”. Certainly, this is not the way to deal with such issues.
However, our Shilpa Shetty is not one to take this lying down. In an immediate press conference to address the media, Shilpa exclaimed “Apology! For what? Did he kiss on my lips? Did he do my vastra haran? Have you never seen a man kiss a woman? Don’t act stupid!” She also mentioned that Gere had called and apologised to her. She further added, “We talk of India going into the 21st century and being progressive. Is this the way to behave? What kind of reputation do you want to project by this act? These people don’t do anything for HIV patients and when others do something, they protest. I feel it is a joke because people are politicising such a trivial issue.”
For the sake of all parties involved, let’s hope this issue dies down immediately so that we can focus on more important issues like the rapid spread of AIDS in our country instead of a harmless kiss.