Bollywood- the potboiler of emotions, the ones where dreams are woven on screen and the only place of which everyone wants to be a part. So why is it that the biggest dream-weaving, entertainment generating industry of the country, fail to portray a basic action on screen? And by the most fundamental act, I mean kissing. Kissing has been a volatile subject in Bollywood since the term was coined. Now after a century of Bollywood’s existence, things don’t seem to be changing for better. This International Kiss Day here is looking back at it.
For a better half of the 20th century, kisses in Bollywood were depicted with the brushing together of flowers, a couple going behind a tree or fire burning (in a bid to portray the desire). While most of us have grown with this kind of memory etched in our minds, turns out Bollywood wasn’t this conservative since forever.
In 1929, the first on-screen lip lock happened in the silent film A Throw Of Dice, where Seeta Devi kissed Charu Devi. Then in 1933 movie Karma, Devika Rani kissed her director husband Himanshu for four minutes. Taking into account such incidents, it is hard to imagine what would have led cinema to go backward. Things changed drastically after the Cinematographer Act of 1952 which in some way put a ban on kisses.
With a sort of cap in showing one of the first steps of intimacy- a kiss, Bollywood retorted to using things in a garden to depict kissing.
Raj Kapoor tried breaking the norm when he showed a kiss in 1960 movie Mera Naam Joker. Being the one who always set a new example, RK Films had kisses in many of their movies.
Apart from Mera Naam Joker, another steamy scene which garnered attention was Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore from Aradhana,which released in 1969. Though there wasn’t a kiss, the steam scene was bashed because if focussed on ‘sexuality’.
Apart from films made under the banner of RK Films, probably no one showed an on-screen kiss. In the 1978 movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Shashi Kapoor locked lips with Zeenat Aman. However, this was not an elaborate one, more of a peck, but it did raise eyebrows.
In 1973 movie Bobby, a scantily dressed Dimple Kapadia and her chemistry with Rishi Kapoor got attention. It was even termed ‘un-Indian’ but all the controversy only helped the movie in becoming a hit.
While Bollywood chose to show something as basic as a kiss using flowers, the 1988 movie Dayawan, changed it. A steamy scene between Vinod Khanna and Madhuri Dixit got the term ‘bold’ by many.
Till Raja Hindustani of 1996, kisses were a taboo. With Karisma Kapoor and Aamir Khan’s surprising kiss in this ‘family-drama’, awkwardness took over everyone.
Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala too kissed each other on the silver screen in 1942: A Love Story, which released in 1994.
The start of a new millennium made Bollywood somehow bolder. The 2004 movie Murder, earned Emraan Hashmi the tag of a serial kisser and his steamy scenes with Mallika Sherawat created a lot of noise. Leaving little to the imagination, Murder, did something which many movies before it did not.
In 2005, a kiss between Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan for Black opened a Pandora’s box of discussions. Obviously, it was termed unethical and the cross-generational kiss was bombarded with questions.
When Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan shared a steamy scene in Dhoom 2, it was rumored the Bachchan family did not approve of it.
The first decade of 2000:
Aamir Khan locked lips with Kareena Kapoor in 3 Idiots, (a stupid kiss although,) since the former did not know nose doesn’t hinder a kiss.
In 2010, the movie Band Baaja Baraat, showed a steamy scene featuring Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma, and redefined sensuality on screen.
Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif’s kiss in 2011 movie Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara, was also high on sensuality and told a lot about their chemistry.
Then in 2012, Shah Rukh Khan kissed Katrina Kaif, in a sweet manner, in the film Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
The same year, Bombay Talkies showed the first gay kiss between Randeep Hooda and Saqib Saleem.
Kisses have become an essential part of the plot these days, with A-listers too not shying away from it on screen. Kareena Kapoor Khan broke her ‘apparent’ no-kissing policy in Ki & Ka, and so did Ajay Devgn in Shivaay. Out of the three superstar Khans, it is only Salman Khan who hasn’t kissed on screen and is hell bent to maintain it.
It is amazing to see Bollywood taking steps forward to break taboos around kissing and it seems small screen industry too has taken a cue from it. Intimate scenes and liplocks are a common thing on the small screen as well, breaking the ‘sanskari’ norm. In Bade Ache Lagte Hain, Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar redefined intimacy and though they made few uncomfortable, they also started conversations.
Kissing in Bollywood has evolved drastically, of course, and it has really become about ‘kissing and telling’, these days. But no one’s complaining (at least I am not)!
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