Sitting back, enjoying the breeze and kvetching

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Good style counts in actions, too

Saint Pat saw this in the Miami Herald yesterday and couldn't help but giggle a bit at the image of a nation outraged at Richard Gere.

When in Rome, or India, try not to offend the locals, darlings. Style counts in actions, as well as clothes.

Kisses get Gere in trouble in India

Gere in an earlier, January appearance

Angry crowds in several Indian cities burned effigies of Richard Gere on Monday after he swept a popular Bollywood actress into his arms and kissed her several times during an AIDS awareness event.

Photographs of the 57-year-old actor embracing Shilpa Shetty and kissing her on the cheek at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Delhi were splashed across Monday's front pages in India -- a country where sex and public displays of affection are largely taboo.

In Mumbai, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks and set fire to glamorous shots of Shetty.

Similar protests broke out in other cities, including Varanasi, Hinduism's holiest city, and in the northern town of Meerut, where crowds chanted, ``Down with Shilpa Shetty!''

The two appeared at a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday to highlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic among India's truck drivers. In front of a cheering crowd, Gere kissed the giggling Shetty on the hand, then kissed her on both cheeks before bending her in a full embrace to kiss her cheek again.

''This is a bit too much,'' Shetty said after the embrace.

On Monday, Shetty tried to stamp out the controversy.

''I understand this is his culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such manner,'' she 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,'' PTI quoted her as saying.

If sex is taboo in India, a lot of people break the taboo, judging from the size of the population. Maybe they just *pretend* they don't have sex.

Ah, well. Gere should be cut a little slack -- it sounds like he was there to do a good thing.

No comments: