Happy World Kissing Day! Let’s Break the Myth That There is No Kissing in Indian Film!

I hate that myth.  From two sides.  First, people always think it means that characters don’t kiss.  Characters totally kiss!  And have sex and do all the normal things.  It’s the actors who don’t.  So we see the characters leaning in, but then rain obscures our view or whatever.  The audience knows what happened, even without seeing it.  Just like a “sex scene” in a movie doesn’t mean we explicitly see the actors having sex.  We just see a bunch of sheets and know what happened.  Oh, and also, actors totally kiss too.  Anyway, this made up holiday gives me an excuse to post lots and lots of kissing videos, woo!

I just re-watched Mughal-E-Azam (yes, this will be the topic of tomorrows Classics post), and oh my goodness!  Madhubali and Dilip’s characters TOTALLY kiss!  And maybe do more.  I don’t know, there’s a fountain, it’s romantic, passion could carry them away.

 

They “really” kissed in that film, as in, the characters actually kissed each other in the narrative, while the actors didn’t.  But in other films, it’s the reverse.  The actors actually kiss, but it’s all a fantasy, so the characters don’t.  Like this, with Shashi and Zeenat and Raj Kapoor desperately trying to attract the young audience.

 

The joke is always that back in the day, instead of seeing a couple kiss, we would just see two flowers touch.  I don’t think I have ever actually seen that in a film, I think it might just be a thing people say not a thing that really happens.  But I’ve certainly seen a lot of films where we cut from the couple flirting and about to kiss to suddenly looking at flowers.  Which is what Chasme Baddoor (the good one!  The 1980s one!) is making fun of.

 

I really like that better, just avoiding the whole kiss thing entirely, than the songs that build the kiss up like it is the biggest thing EVER and then back off at the last minute.

 

Or they do kiss, but the characters have felt so innocent until then that it almost feels wrong, like watching two children kiss.

 

Now of course the most famous kiss in Hindi film history is the Raja Hindustani one.  The super explicit and sexy one.  Got to include that!

 

Somehow that one broke down the barriers, and kissing became, not exactly commonplace, but not groundbreaking any more.  Which lead to this whole series of films in which kissing was, like, a practical joke? Something you would do if you were really mad, or to show someone up somehow.  It was odd.

 

Almost ruined Hum-Tum for me.  But then, Rani got him back in “Gore Gore”, so it all balanced out.

 

See, I like it better when kissing was still semi-taboo, and Rani got to be super sexy in her very first movie with a nice “obscured by rain” kiss.

 

Now, of course, kissing is just like “whatever” both for most actors, and for the characters.  Which feels strangely inaccurate.  Like, the characters are still often set up as “good girl planning to have an arranged marriage” and “bad boy who’s not so bad”.  For those kind of characters, yeah, a lip-to-lip kiss is still a big deal!  At least, it’s a big deal for her and if he is really a “bad boy who’s not so bad” it should be a big deal for him because it is a big deal for her.  What I am saying is, Band Baaja Baarat drives me crazy because it goes all the way to having sex when really just a kiss would make a lot more sense for both characters at that moment.  But noooooooooo, the Indian audience is “past” the whole kissing thing, so it has to be even more shocking.

(See?  The kissing is lovely, very natural.  But then they jump straight to sex?  Really?  And even if I buy that, it ruins the rest of the movie for me that he is so jerky afterwards.  This was not a small thing dude!  You BETTER propose!  Or apologize for not proposing.  Or somehow acknowledge that this was a BIG BIG deal!)

And now kissing is, like, how a film is promoted?  Which is ridiculous, posters actually tauting the number of kisses in the film, like we are all going to be sitting there with calculators going “well, this film had 23 kisses, while the other one had 22, clearly it is superior!”  And it reached the extreme edge of ridiculousness with Befikre.  Which I really wish had turned out to be a meta-statement on how silly this all is, instead of buying into it in a sort of exhibitionist desperate for attention way.  Oooo, casual sex and actors kissing onscreen!  Watch me watch me!

 

Which isn’t to say there are no good kissing movies recently.  I think the Jab We Met ending kiss was just about perfect.  All kisses onscreen should be that realistic, romantic, and plot driven.  And if you can’t do that, then yeah, just leave them out.

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22 thoughts on “Happy World Kissing Day! Let’s Break the Myth That There is No Kissing in Indian Film!

  1. Here’s a song from Mahesh’s debut, Rajakumarudu. It has a lot of instances where flowers and other objects block kissing. Plus it’s a cute song with two of my favorite actors 🙂

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    • AAAA! They both look so young! Also, I forgot about that song from Businessman, I could have included that.

      On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 6:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Right! I think this movie came out in 1999 so both of them were around 23-24 years old. This is one of Preity’s only Telugu movies but I wish they acted together again since they looked so cute together 🙂

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  2. Love this topic and I never give up an opportunity to make favorite lists! I remember as a tween girl how my friends and I would rewind to the kisses in films a million times. I have to admit, if it’s a good one, like the one in North and South for instance, I still rewind!

    So here are a few of my favorite filmi kisses in no particular order…

    Priyanka and Farhan in Dil Dhadakne Do…it’s a kiss that actually moves the plot along and I really liked their pairing, maybe even more than the fun but been there done that pairing of Ranveer/Anushka

    Imran and Anuskha in Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola…it’s just about as sexy as sweet Imran can get

    Arjun Kapoor and Sasha Agha in Aurangzeb…both very steamy kisses are great because Arjun is playing different characters and the kisses reflect the character

    Arjun and Shruti in D-Day…not sure how I feel about the context, but it’s pretty damn hot

    Sid and Parineeti in Hasee Toh Phasee…just a cute ending scene though there is an early scene where he is tying her choli that is much sexier!

    Fawad and Sonam in Khoobsurat…one of the better “fake” kisses

    Arjun and Parineeti in Ishaqzaade…I kind of think Arjun Kapoor is one of the best on-screen kissers

    Deepika and Ranveer in Ramleela…they are just a little too studied and perfect on screen together but they’re both so beautiful in that honeymoon/incense scene

    Harshvardhan Rane and Mawra Hocane…STK had to make the list, of course!

    Hrithik and Aishwarya in Dhoom 2…I do think Hrithik is better at the romantic “sex” scenes like in Jodhaa Akhbar and Agneepath but this is such a famous kiss that it makes my list

    And finally, I agree completely that the best filmi kiss has to be the one in Jab We Met…it’s a classic kiss

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    • -I’m so-so on Farhan-Priyanka, but I do love a kiss that moves the plot along!

      -YES! Imran and Anushka in Matru are SO GREAT! It’s one of those movies where it feels like the really unusual romance wasn’t noticed because of everything else going on. But the way they slowly build that Imran and Anushka have been in love their whole loves and she is just waiting for him to work through his class issues and say something, in the middle of everything else going on, is so great. And that kiss is the perfect culmination, surprising but not surprising because it’s been there unspoken all along.

      -another time when the kisses feel plot driven! Well, a little less so than they could be, but still good

      -I love them as a couple in D-Day! Way more than I thought I would. Somehow, it works.

      -Still haven’t seen it. I’m a bad person.

      -Yes! And another time when it really felt earned. there need to be something dramatic between the two characters to move the plot along, and in the moment it was also built up in a way that felt natural.

      -He does have really big soft lips….

      -I don’t know, I watched all of Ramleela in my usually Bhansali haze of hatred, so I have no nice memories of it.

      -Of course!

      -Hrithik is really good at the super intense and loving moments, the sex scenes where we aren’t even seeing what they are doing but he has to convey it through his intencity. come to think of it, that’s kind of why he is so great in the second have of Mujshe Dosti Karoge. Because it is all that intensity he puts in his sex scenes, but for like an hour.

      -Absolutely. Says everything the characters couldn’t say any other way.

      On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 7:49 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. In fairness, there were kisses in Aamir Khan movies even before Raja Hindustani! I remember being a kid and hearing my mom joke that was Aamir’s thing, just like taking his shirt off was Salman’s and exaggerated physical comedy was SRK’s. But here are some of the kisses that really worked for me, as opposed to being just awkward and weird (I’m looking at you, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and your horrid personal space violating kiss!):

    – Totally agree with Jab We Met, of course. It’s the perfect light, happy, satisfying end to the movie and feels so earned! Even thinking of the background music makes me smile.

    – Vidya Balan and Madhavan’s kiss in Guru. I was way more invested in their romance than Abhishek’s and Aishwariya’s (I know, I know, I’m totally watching the movie wrong, but their stealing joy in the face of inevitable tragedy, the confounding factor that marrying her is going to help Madhavan with Mithun and he knows it and is unapologetic about it, the little glances he sends her way) but this is one of the few times a kiss isn’t just earned, but necessary, IMO. Vidya is ranting and crying about how hard the physical realities of living with her, and so the kiss is the only response to assure that he does see her as a woman, not a charity case, that he’s attracted enough to her to deal with the effects of her disease. It’s my favorite scene in the entire movie.

    – And speaking of South Indian stars, I hate to be That Person bringing it back to Baahubali again 😉 but I thought the kiss at the end of Hamsa Naava was nice too. It seemed sweet and tender and inevitable next step in their relationship, instead of just thrown in there to titillate the crowds.

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    • -I forgot about the earlier Aamir kisses until I looked up QSQT for this post. It’s right there! In his first movie! and Juhi’s first movie too, if she were to kiss onscreen now it would be a Big Thing, but back then it was no big deal.

      -Yes! And the kiss feels so monumental because it is such a light and happy movie. Her love, until now, has felt almost innocent. And his love for her has been noble. The kiss moves it onto a new level, now she is a grown woman who wants to kiss him, and he sees her as a person he can kiss, you know? And again, this is what it could have been in Band Baaja Baarat, but noooooooo. they had to go too far.

      -Absolutely agree. Both that Madhavan and Vidya stole the movie, and that the kiss was incredibly earned. It kind of reminds me of Filmilibrarian’s suggestion of Matru. Their romance was built in the background of everything else, so it kind of slowly dawned on us just like it dawned on them. they are spending time together and talking together and it’s not because they have to, but just because they like spending as much time together as possible. But they can’t acknowledge it. The sudden proposal, and the kiss, is this brilliant acknowledgement of everything that has been unsaid all along. And, like you say, the kiss is so necessary as the only possible response to all her doubts. It not only proves that he is sincerely attracted to her, but that she is capable of being attracted to him, her body is not that dead.

      -Oh yeah, that was sweet. Such a gentle acknowledgement of their love, which had already been confirmed in every other way.

      On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 8:57 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I almost put this one in my list, too! It was very sexy BUT it’s a little icky in context and it’s kind of supposed to be once the issue is revealed. Still love the rest of the overall romance.

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  4. Scientifically a kiss is a ‘bacteria exchange program’ 🙂 I think most Indian actors avoid kiss either because of this fear or uncomfortable kissing infront of strangers. Indian censor board also was very strict in early days regarding kiss scenes. But whenever there are kiss scenes in few movies, the audience is very thrilled and watch it again and again, just like the kiss scene in Geethanjali movie…

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    • That’s always been my theory! That avoiding the kissing is less about the audience seeing the kiss, and more about the actors feeling uncomfortable doing it. Getting into Indian film has made me question how easily we accept in American film that these two coworkers are being forced to do this intimate act while we watch.

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      • And in Hollywood films you’ve spent your entire life watching actors do open mouthed French kissing instead of the relatively chaste closed mouth kisses that were the rule before.

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  5. How come you didn’t Devika Rani and others kissing in the earliest Hindi movies. You can find still photos from that era on the net.

    I’ve seen plenty of flowers “kissing” instead of actors in Telugu movies. So many that I can’t actually just pull one specific one out of my memory for you. But usually the flowers bit is a stand in for sex, not just a kiss. Heck, you identified this yourself in the Paccha Bottesi song in Bahubali 1. Sometimes they used birds instead of flowers. Gives a whole new meaning to the “birds and the bees” expression, doesn’t it?

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      • Not Switzerland per se, but the fire they have to have blazing so the poor heroine in her chiffon sari doesn’t freeze to death while standing in foot deep snow, that’s a definite stand in for passion. 🙂

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      • Besides, Hindi films also used flowers for their symbolic value, especially in songs. 🙂 What exactly do you think that feather scene in Mughal-E-Azam was about? 🙂

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  6. A kiss has to mean something.It should not merely be there just to titillate the audience.I agree with all of you that the Jab We Met kiss is the best one of the lot.Done properly and the situation warrants it.Going to the other end of the spectrum, which one gets the award for the most awkward one? We teenagers, sure had a lot of giggles over the Raja Hindustani kiss when it came out in the 90s.Not for the way they kissed.But for the fact that they spent the entire night kissing.Did they take occasional bathroom breaks? What if one of them sneezed, especially since it was raining?

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    • “most awkward” as in, “most unpleasant to watch” is definitely the SRK kisses in Jab Tak. They are almost necessary for the narrative, but not really, same thing could have been accomplished some other way. And they are really terribly performed!

      On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 3:03 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yep, the SRK kiss in Jab Tak hands down! I wonder if he’ll ever attempt it again? The Raja Hindustani one is so melodramatic and the heavy breathing beforehand is particularly laughable and it’s so much more obvious because of the dubbing.

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        • I hope he never attempts it again! The way it was promoted and talked about in interviews was a definite “I did it just for Yashji and I hated it” kind of storyline. Not a “well, times change, I have to move on and adapt” kind of storyline.

          On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 8:12 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Happy World kissing day once again!
    There is quite some kissing in Indian movies alright but my current favourite comes from hollywood.
    Daniel Radcliffe & Bonnie Wright love-making scene

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