On Screen Kisses Discussion Post: When Do We Like Them, When Do We Hate Them?

Thanks for Catherine (by the way, Catherine, I owe you a greeting card! Email me your address and I will send it off) and Whitney bringing this up in the comments because I think it is a super interesting topic to consider, especially in the Indian context.

There’s three reasons, I think, that Indian film and the film industry treats kissing differently than in other film industries.

First, the legal part of it. The British instituted extremely restrictive censorship rules during WWII, and the independent Indian government kept them up. For a long time there was an official rule against showing explicit lip-to-lip kissing onscreen. If you go back to early 30s films (the few that exist), you can see kisses of the same kind as were in Hollywood films of that era, chaste and closed mouthed but definitely happening. Sometime in the 50s, that stopped. Kisses could still be part of the plot, could be implied, but were not shown onscreen. The censorship rule was lifted sometime in the late 80s/early 90s (I have a hard time finding this information in a legitimate source). The first big mainstream Hindi film to have an explicit kiss was Raja Hindustani in 1996 and it was MINDBLOWING.

Second, the cultural part of it. It’s not like people are kissing all over in India and the films aren’t showing it. Physical affection of any kind between the sexes is not acceptable in public spaces. Holding hands, strolling arm in arm, it all might be questionable. Kissing is extremely questionable. It is something to be done where no one can see you. You could argue this is because marriage, love, sex, is all seen as something that should be done with social approval and not just because you “want” to, that youth and sexuality must be controlled. Or it could be as simple as modesty rules varying between societies, and in India kissing in public is considered along the same lines as passionate over the clothes petting in public in western society. People do it, sure, but folks stare and are uncomfortable and it is weird.

Image result for kareena kapoor shahid kapoor kiss
Kareena and Shahid were caught kissing in public for real, back when they were openly in a serious relationship, and it was as shocking as this onscreen kiss in a movie. People just don’t DO that, even if they are in a relationship, even if they are married.

Third, the awareness of actors as people first and characters second. If you think about how the star system has evolved in India, the audience is far more likely to think of the people onscreen as their star identities than as their characters. And if you know that person onscreen as a real person, than watching them kiss someone is just strange.

Image result for shahrukh khan kiss jab tak hai jaan
Doesn’t help when movies promote it as “[Blank] kisses onscreen!”

Basically, the way I think of it is roughly equivalent to a sex scene in an American film. Sex can be part of the plot, the two characters can even be shown bouncing beneath blankets, but it would be very strange for a film to show sex so explicitly that the audience starts to think about the actual actors having sex and be moved out of the story. Or for the actors to be asked to do such a thing. To my mind, the censorship rules were the least of it. The cultural conditioning meant that both the audience and the actors were uncomfortable with the idea, and the awareness of actors as people just adds to that discomfort.

And even now, the films where people kiss, and the actors who do that, reflect these same rules. It’s more common, but not universal. If an actor or actress is married, they are less likely to kiss. Because the audience will be uncomfortable with it, their spouse will be uncomfortable with it, even they themselves might be uncomfortable with it. If an actor or actress is established and well-known, it is less likely. Because they have a real world reputation that will be affected, and the audience has a real world view of them that will change. And of course, it also depends on if the film itself is telling the kind of story that, in the Indian context, would reasonably include kissing. A young hip modern love story set overseas, absolutely. A village love story, less likely.

For me personally, I am uncomfortable with kissing onscreen in Indian films because I am aware of that cultural context, and I truly think the audience can sense it when the actors don’t feel right about kissing, feel pressured into it even though it goes against their own sense of modesty. Or if the filmmakers feel pressured to include a kiss even when it doesn’t fit with their story or setting. But the exception is when the film itself is built in such a way that the actors lose themselves in the characters, and I lose them in the characters, and suddenly it is the characters who are kissing and not these two co-workers.

For example, I just rewatched Student of the Year and was as uncomfortable during the kiss between Alia and Sidharth as I was the first time I watched it. Sid and Alia were newcomers, I had no particular vision of them as stars that I was losing through this kiss. But somehow it just didn’t feel comfortable to watch, didn’t feel like two actors who were losing themselves in the scene as much as two young kids who really didn’t want to kiss in front of cameras. Even if it fit with the story, even if it made sense for the script, it was just uncomfortable to watch and I wish they had been given the option of faking the kiss from another angle or something like that.

Image result for alia sidharth kiss

To a much lessor degree, I am also uncomfortable when the kiss scene rings false for the story and the characters. In Band Baaja Baarat (yes, I am going to beat up on this poor movie again), Anushka initiates a kiss with Ranveer. It felt like the film was trying to make these two middle-class Indian kids fit with their vision of how they should be more than how they would be in reality. Versus their kisses in Dil Dhadakne Do which made total sense for those particular characters.

Image result for anushka ranveer kiss band baaja baaraat

And finally, I am uncomfortable when the kiss feels like pandering, like it is a moment of breaking the fourth wall and saying “look! Kissing!” There are a lot of movies that do that now, that publicize how many kisses are in the film like that is a reason to watch it. It takes me out of the movie when it is treated that way. Befikre, for example, it was reasonable for the characters to be kissing in public, and the actors didn’t feel uncomfortable with it (to me), and yet I still didn’t like it because it felt like the movie was more focused on getting all those kisses in than actually making a good movie.

Anyway, that’s me! Uncomfortable with kisses in Indian films if I feel like the actors aren’t comfortable, or like it isn’t true to the story, or when it feels like a moment of spectacle that they put in to titillate the audience.

How about you? What films do you not like the kissing, and what films do you like it? And why? Or do you not even know for sure why and are still thinking about it?

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81 thoughts on “On Screen Kisses Discussion Post: When Do We Like Them, When Do We Hate Them?

  1. `
    What confused me with Indian films (back in the day) was the prohibition on a chaste little kiss while at the same time having moves in dance numbers (and costume design in general) that were EXTREMELY “sexy.”

    What’s that all about?

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    • I think it goes back to an awareness of what the actors are doing. Dance moves, costumes, all of that is different from asking two strangers to kiss each other.

      On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 7:42 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Traditionally anyways, for most Indians, kissing is an act of foreplay (or at least the initiation of it), not an expression of affection, and not its own thing (“making out”). That’s why it’s done in private, and until recently, inappropriate to witness on-screen.

      Plus, to Margaret’s point, when two stars kiss on-screen, most Indians used to view that as witnessing the two stars kissing, not the two characters kissing.

      But to your point, one reason that many actresses from all over India elect to act in the southern and regional film industries instead of Hindi/Bollywood is the more modest attire and dance moves for the ladies (though that’s changing too).

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      • I like that phrasing, that it is an act of foreplay. I’m so used to the western version, where husbands and wives routinely give each other pecks to say good-bye or hello, the same as shaking hands. Not sexual so much as loving.

        Once I watched enough Indian movies and really started thinking about it, I kind of swung around to “India is normal, it’s really weird that the rest of the world accepts kissing scenes as a matter of course”. Not the carefully filmed ones where you can’t really see anything, or the casual loving peck on the lips ones, but the full on make-out sessions we expect in our films, TV shows, everywhere. Why doesn’t it make us uncomfortable to have two actors kissing in front of us? The same kind of behavior that I would look at strangely on a train platform, I accept when it is in a movie.

        On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 8:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • It makes ME uncomfortable!! But, like I said, I’m not a big fan of kissing anyhow. I get super antsy about pretty much *any* romantic scene, but that’s probably just me. PDA weirds me out in general. (Me to daughter: It’s not homophobia, it’s affection-phobia. Everyone just needs to staaahhhppp!)

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          • Now, I am curious, what scenes (if any) in an Indian film did feel comfortable and sexy to you instead of weird? Because what you say makes sense, it’s a personal thing and some people are more sensitive to PDA than others. If we take you as the extreme end of sensitive, what would make a scene comfortable to you?

            On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 10:58 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I actually was okay with the realism in JHMS. The smart, flirty, teasing thing seems way hotter to me than just having the characters jump on each other. Plus, SRK makes me think of a panther in that scene where he’s coming down the stairs to greet his ‘fiancé’ – he’s almost predatory, in a good way. Was fine with KANK as well, for whatever reason. Maybe because the were both so sad about it, but there was no choice at that point. So it was slow and bittersweet and gentle. And, crazy me, I even thought Abhishek was kinda hot in Where’s the Party Tonight. I wasn’t feeling sorry for him in the least. I actually totally understood why Maya wasn’t into his sloppy, I’m-so-in-love-with-you-I’m-not-even-noticing-that-you’re-totally-not-into-me thing he had going on. He wanted to bang, get laid, f*** and Maya wanted to be made love to. (Plus, SRK. I forgave the cheating immediately.)
            I think I’m really all about the romance more than the physical stuff. Not always – sometimes I get frustrated for the characters. DDJL, like you mentioned, and maybe Zamaana Dewana. I was thinking, LET THEM AT IT for crying out loud!!

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  2. The first time I “liked” viewing kissing on-screen in mainstream Indian film was probably Preity and Saif in Salaam Namaste. It was also the first time i “liked” viewing a sex scene in Indian film (well, it was more like making out in bed under the covers during a song).

    Several reasons for this, mostly aligning with Margaret’s arguments.

    1. The whole movie is set in Australia, they are full grown single adults, and the couple is living together, so makes sense that they would kiss and have sex as a natural expression of their relationship. They wear western clothes, have western jobs, lead western lives, so totally made sense in the context.

    2. IIRC in Salaam Namaste the kissing and sex was delivered to us cinematically in the context of song, rather than during dialog, so that added to the aesthetic appeal, and possibly reduced the uncomfortable impact of overt intimacy.

    3. Both Preity and Saif seemed more western as people than their other contemporary actors. Said went to boarding school abroad and still sports a slightly British accent, and comes from a great deal of wealth, which usually implies a certain comfort level with the west. Preity is Kashmiri, stood up to the mafia on trial as a witness, and other than Ness Wadia, was mostly linked with non Indians romantically, even eventually married one. Both have international looks/faces and wear western attire for events. So it wasn’t disconcerting to see them kissing. In fact, they felt like the appropriate ambassadors for this.

    4. They seemed to kiss in a way I was familiar with. Two faces at opposite diagonals, lips intertwined, faces close together, faces moving in subtle circular motions. Too often, the actors faces are far apart, their faces are both upright, the lips are in a pucker formation (like they are about to kids a baby on the cheek), almost liking they are breaking the fourth wall to assure the audience that they aren’t kissing their costar the way they would kiss their spouses. Or on the other extreme is Emraan Hashmi, whose kissing is so lengthy and aggressive that MY lips feel tired after watching one of his movies haha! Though I think Emraan and Mallika did this style of kissing well in Murder. I would much rather see this than the aforementioned awkward kissing.

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    • I don’t like Salaam Namaste that much as a whole movie (I just cannot forgive Saif for being HORRIBLE!!!!! You made a choice when you had sex with her, you bozo!), but I agree with all of your points. Especially the way it was filmed and inserted into the narrative. Befikre, for instance, also had two leads who seemed comfortable with kissing, a narrative that made it reasonable, a setting where it made sense, and so on and so forth. But it was filmed in such close ups, and it wasn’t just a natural casual glimpse in the middle of a song but thrown at us every minute, and that is what made me uncomfortable. In Salaam Namaste, like you point out, it is specifically in the context of a love song, it’s casual and not necessarily filmed in close-up every time, just a part of life.

      Neal N’ Nikki of course is the absolute WORST with how they handle the kisses as a Big Deal. Although I suppose you could argue that is also true to the characters? It’s set in Canada, but with two young people who have never had a relationship before and were raised by fairly traditional households, so a kiss truly was Big Deal. Although I still would have felt more comfortable if the camera was a little bit less front-and center about.

      Oh, and your final point, the realism of the actual mechanics of kissing, I argue that Chupke Chupke in Bunty Aur Babli is the best example of that. Remember? It opens with their first kiss and they can’t figure out where the noses go (very realistic), and then finally find the right angle. I think there are more kisses within the song, but they are quick “I love you” pecks, not anything serious. I wish more films, both Indian and Western, would just embrace the awkwardness of figuring out how to kiss, it feels more real than having two characters suddenly turn into porn stars who know how to kiss perfectly and attractively on the first try.

      Oh! I found it with German subtitles!

      On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 9:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I’m so surprised that folks are uncomfortable with kissing on screen! I likes it. I don’t need full on tongue hockey but yes I like seeing it in films, esp. when you have it come after two characters have been circling around each other for a long time to build up anticipation.

    What I find amusing is no lip locking but perfectly okay for actors to drag their mouths up the heroine’s cleavage or for the heroine to rip open the hero’s shirt and slide her face down his torso. That’s a lot more overtly erotic to me than a kiss. I mean, no kissing in the gif below and yet…

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    • Here’s a thing to think about, when I was in college I casually mentioned something while sitting at a table of Desi girls about the oral sex moment in Shikdum. None of them had any idea what I was talking about, both what “oral sex” was and what the reference was in the song. So it’s possible a lot of the stuff that isn’t explicitly kissing just goes entirely over the heads of much of the audience. Maybe that’s why the other stuff gets a pass.

      (I’m talking about the moment at 2 minutes 10 seconds, there is literally no other logical explanation than oral sex. It could not be more clear)

      On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 10:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • My sample size in college was 3 girls born in 1985/86 in America with their own laptops living at college. But their parents had warned them not to waste time with anything but schoolwork, they only consumed Indian films, etc. etc. etc. One of them I think started rebelling a bit in med school, the other two not so much. Which gets into the bigger question of how sometimes the diaspora kids, whose parents are terrified and extremely restrictive (because that is the nature of culture shock and immigration) end up with more built in mental blocks than the kids in India.

          On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 10:37 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • NRI kids tend to be traditional than the ones in India. Their parents maintain the morals and standards of what India was like when they left even though India itself has moved on. They become frozen in that time period and spread that to their kids.

            However, I find it hard to believe that those girls didn’t know. They were probably faking it. For Indian girls there’s a premium put on looking and sounding innocent and free of blemish. That makes you “better” morally than the ones who openly speak and act like they’re aware of sex. I’ve experienced it myself and known people who act this way because they think it’s how they’re expected to behave.

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          • Could be. They certainly wouldn’t be faking it in front of me, if anything the opposite (“I’m as cool as the Americans”) but they were at a table with other desi girls, could have been faking it for each other. I think probably somewhere in between, once I made the point they could see it but pretended they couldn’t, but it definitely wasn’t on their minds when they watched the songs before, with their parents and younger siblings in their living rooms.

            That’s what blows my mind, that these very traditional moral families watch these songs and movies with their kids and just brush right past anything that is implied.

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  4. I don’t mind kissing on screen if it goes with the plot and works for the character. I’d like to avoid Emraan Hashmi type kissing though because it’s done in such a vomit-inducing way. It looks like the start of some porn film. Ironically, considering he kisses on screen so much, he seems to be the worst at it! As if he doesn’t actually know how to do it and is trying his best by sucking the girl’s face off.

    The one strange thing I’ve noticed is that the BW audience accepts anything sexual as long as it’s part of a song. Maybe they consider it fantasy so it’s easier to accept it mentally? The same exact thing done as part of a regular scene would get them outraged. For JTJH, people didn’t seem to have any problem the bed scene during Saans but they were freaking out about the most chaste little kisses.

    The Shikdum song posted here is so wild that I would never want to see it near my parents but even there I don’t think people really had any issue with it. Try doing any of that outside a song and it would have been considered a B-grade skin flick.

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    • Excellent point! Oh, that is really interesting. So there is a mentality that if it happens in a song, the characters aren’t “really” doing it, so we don’t have to judge them as characters. And at the same time, the songs themselves are so hyper-real that it is easier to think of the actors as faking things than if they were doing them during an actual sequence of the film.

      What I love about the Shikdum song is that it starts with a big prominent photo of their wedding. So the audience can go “oh good, their married, it’s all okay”.

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  5. I remember that I did not miss the kissing in Hindi movies I watched while getting familiar with Hindi Cinema because there was the kind of erotism that I found much more interesting and exciting. I was so accustomed to kisses (especially the happy-end kisses) and rather unerotic sex scenes that they didn’t even meant something special to me anymore, not even the French kissing which I (far too often) found showing sexual interest in an almost ‘forced’ way.
    Through my reading then, I got to know the cultural implication you wrote about. It was after I had watched Maya Memsaab where nothing had been ‘out of order’ for me but obviously for Indian media (which lead to ShahRukh’s fight with a journalist). I understood that it is only the task of songs to show sexuality and arouse sexual fantasm.
    As I got to know Hindi Cinema in 2006, I became aware (around the release of KANK) how much people identify with the actors (and not the character) – like you mentioned, too, and what the audience would accept them doing.
    After KANK (‘forbidden’ sex) and when ShahRukh kissed (3 times!!!) in JTHJ, I learned that he lost a lot of fans only because of that.
    I think there is hypocrisy in Indian society when it comes to sexuality on screen and off screen.

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    • The only times I really missed the kisses in Indian films is when it felt like the characters wanted to kiss and were denied. DDLJ in particular, there are a couple of “almost” moments and I started to feel as frustrated as the characters bu the end of it. In that film, one solid “Happy Ending” kiss would have left me satisfied.

      But in most films, yes, I don’t miss it. Kal Ho Na Ho for instance, there is a lot of physicality both between Preity and Shahrukh and Preity and Saif, and it felt reasonable to me that it never turned into a kiss. Even in KANK, I didn’t feel the lack of actual lip-to-lip kisses in the love scenes.

      Maybe it is when characters straddle that line between innocence and experience? In DDLJ, they were ready to kiss, in love and aroused enough to want it. But not ready to go farther, there was no clavacle kissing in that movie or anything like it. So we the audience, and the characters, were left with nothing. But that’s a pretty rare situation, where they feel intimate enough to kiss but not do anything more.

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      • I think KANK needed a kiss during that scene where Amitabh found out about Rani and SRK. It just looked so weird that they were nuzzling faces and doing some really odd things on a street in NY. It still makes me cringe. It would have worked so much better if there was a kiss there. It didn’t need to be anything major but that right away would make it understandable to Amitabh’s character that they were having an affair.

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        • People identify so much with the real actors that if they do roles or things in a movie that people don’t like, there is particular outrage about it.

          People were claiming SRK betrayed them when he kissed on screen. I mean really? Is he your boyfriend? How the heck did an actor betray you by doing his job?

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        • That would be a moment where I feel like an implied kiss would work just as well as a real one. Show us them aiming their faces, cut to Amitabh, then back as they pull apart. It’s not like the audience needed the kiss to fill fulfilled and complete, but writing it into the script might have made things more logical.

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    • Agreed that the physical contact and emotional intensity make you not miss the kissing most of the time. Though occasionally when the nuzzling gets super drawn out and intense I find it a little comical.

      Also true that explicit scenes can be less erotically charged when they lack the context of characters and emotion. In Spain, the movies were chaste for decades under censorship, then went wild starting in the 80s when the new democratic government lifted the rules. Now it’s a standing joke in our house that you know it’s a Spanish movie if there’s the obligatory banging scene within the first 5 minutes. But those scenes are mostly strenuous calisthenics, no passion involved.

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      • The best is they use the nuzzling on purpose. In JHMS, for instance, they are so physical. But so long as they don’t kiss, they can pretend nothing “really” happened. That’s sexy.

        It’s the same with SRKajol in Kuch Kuch, or in Socha Na Tha. They are so in love and so in lust, but it can only be expressed through touches because otherwise it would be real.

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        • I heard those ‘betrayed’ complaints because of that living room/bedroom scene in JHMS and they didn’t even kiss. I maintain that it’s because it feels too real to people when it happens in a scene as opposed to a song where it passes off as fantasy.

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          • Yes, that scene is super hot. I read a post not long after JHMS came out where the person was saying the movie was hard to get over because Harry seemed so real as opposed to the untouchable fantasy characters Shah Rukh built his career on. It seemed more self aware than some of the other reactions.

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  6. There were plenty of onscreen kisses even before Raja Hindustani. Nobody made a fuss about it -that’s all.Watch any early Sanjay Dutt or Kumar Gaurav movie from the 80s. If anything the kiss in RH was mocked mercilessly by everyone I knew at that time.On the other hand, ‘Tip tip barsa pani’ came out around the same time and was considered pretty controversial and pushing the boundaries. I’ll let you in the secret of how joint families in India watch these racy movies together – you simply leave the room for a drink of water.We’ve all done it as teenagers.

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    • See, this is why I don’t trust the censorship information I can find!!! I’ve found very firm and definite “kissing wasn’t allowed, and then it was” statements, but it really feels like it was in films from all kinds of eras. It has become way more common in the past 20 years, but it never seemed to be completely “forbidden”. I just don’t know.

      Question, is it the teenagers who leave the room so as not to watch the sexy bits with their family, or the family that leaves the room so the teenagers can watch alone?

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      • The kids leave. Nowadays cell phones have changed that. You stare at your phone and pretend you have something important to check. I still do it and I’m not even a teenager.

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      • The teenagers of course 🙂 They’re the only people likely to be embarrassed.The grownups are too cool to be bothered.Or they must all have had a better poker face.The kids won’t understand.At least, the kids of my generation were.The rape scenes were the exception. They would be fast forwarded or the kids would be asked to close their eyes.

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        • I would like to clarify that the rules go completely out of the window if you’re watching it with a bunch of female family members. It was a hoot watching Hindi movies with my mom and her sisters back in the day.Kissing and any intimate scenes were discussed along with songs’ lyrics and dance movements.And ‘mocked’ mercilessly if done wrong.The comments would fly thick and get saltier by the minute.No holds barred.

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          • See, this is why I used to have a strict “no boys” policy for my movie nights! Because either we would have to censor ourselves, or they would have to be okay with hearing some pretty extreme language.

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      • Ha, you are right! And I thought of Kajol as one of those who never kisses. But then this was before she was married.

        On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 3:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. I’m with Ticket on this one. Many of the films are about sex; it’s frequently the first thing on the hero’s mind when he sees the gal he later falls in love with. They do the pelvic, touchy-feely dance, he follows her to the point of stalking, and THEN, when she rescues a puppy or cooks for her sick her mom, he finally falls in true love. It’s been made plain all along that they’re both virgins who won’t touch until shaadi, which strains my gullibility, culture notwithstanding. A little smooching would make more sense to me; be more realistic. I’m not talking about the Emraan Hashmi, “I’m going to kiss you now and swallow your head whole” kind of smooching, but hugging which currently only happens after a wedding is imminent, plus some nice, non-aunty kissing.

    It seems to me that most of the romances I watch these days are about either wild, crazy kids in hot clothes, dancing hot dances, and clearly doing the nasty. Or about kids in sarees and dhotis who live in a village with a thousand eyes, and have to flirt from a decorous distance. But not decorous enuf for her father, who walls her up and hires goons to stomp on the boy.

    I mean, it’s Indian cinema and I love it, but enuf of annoying vamp’ish women who turn out to be scandalized innocents when the hero makes a move. And enuf of pure-as-the-driven heroes clearly way over thirty.

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    • And there are the films where they try to fix the “too pure hero” problem and go too far the other way. These heroes who seem more like sex addicts than just normal young people, it’s all about a string of women leaving their bedrooms, no actual relationships. And meanwhile heroine, of course, is still pure and he loves her because she says “no”.

      There are a couple that strike a nice balance, I like Love Aaj Kal (for instance) because our hero has an actual relationship with the white woman he is dating. Not a serious one, he doesn’t love her, but we also aren’t supposed to go “yay! He slept with a woman and didn’t even know her name!” I Hate Luv Storys is the worst this way, Imraan Khan sleeps with a woman and then tricks her to leave in the morning and is just generally horrible, and meanwhile Sonam is chastely dating with expectation of marriage. He’s way too much of a dog, and she’s way too saintly, and it doesn’t make sense for them to get together.

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  8. I would like to clarify that the rules go completely out of the window if you’re watching it with a bunch of female family members. It was a hoot watching Hindi movies with my mom and her sisters back in the day.Kissing and any intimate scenes were discussed along with songs’ lyrics and dance movements.And ‘mocked’ mercilessly if done wrong.The comments would fly thick and get saltier by the minute.No holds barred.

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  9. So, I am starting to get comfortable with kisses. I used to be very uncomfortable in the 90s and early 2000s with the exception of Aamir’s when he was young and good looking because he seemed very comfortable with them. Hrithik’s kissing has improved, but in his early days, he used WAY too much tongue and it seemed way too sloppy and extremely uncomfortable to watch. I really liked the one from SOTY. To me, it felt like they were both into it and it made sense to me, since Sid and Alia got together after the movie was released. Finally, my absolute favorite kiss even though they don’t show the lips touching is Sonam and Fawad in Khoobsoorat. They are both clearly very attracted to each other and the double kiss was just plain hot.

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    • Yes! Khoobsoorat was a perfectly used kiss. There had to be something big to acknowledge their unspoken attraction, something that they couldn’t pretend wasn’t there like all their other little “almost” moments. And it had to be something big to show how in love Fawad was, that his feelings overcame his reserve. And the double kiss was perfect, so they both got a chance to initiate and acknowledge their feelings.

      I think Sid and Alia kiss in Kapoor & Sons too, and that one doesn’t bother me. Maybe they were more comfortable together in that one, maybe they were just more comfortable onscreen, I don’t know. Even Alia’s kisses with Arjun in 2 States don’t really bother me. But that SOTY one still doesn’t feel right somehow.

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    • My favorite part is that her “sexy” nightgown is in fact more modest and offers less access than her painting clothes.

      Also, why is their yard covered in astroturf?

      On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 1:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. OMG! The fake grass! With the hose connected all ready to water it. And then, after she’s already wet and naked under a towel, she goes behind closed doors, and emerges (for sex?) IN BABY DOLL PJ’S!

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    • And if they had just speeded up the foreplay, they would have had time to finish before Abhishek got the phone call calling him in to work!!!! It’s all illogical and inefficient.

      On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 8:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  11. The first Hindi film I ever saw in a theater was Jab Tak Hai Jaan. I went alone to a theater all the way across town. I had however watched a lot of Hindi films on line by that point and more importantly I had seen a lot of interviews where the likes of Aish and Shah Rukh who said they would not kiss on screen. Shah Rukh said he was too shy and awkward. Yashji must have talked him into it and boy, is he right. It is soooo awkward when he first kisses Kat and in all those post -coital scenes. They aren’t sexy at all and that is hard for him NOT to be sexy. When that scene came in the movie the whole audience gasped. You knew something really new had happened. By the time he got to Jab Harry, he had figured out how not to be awkward. That kiss works. Maybe his comfort with Anuskha helped him. Some of the young actors can pull off the kissing just the same way American actors do. The older ones, including Shah Rukh are much sexier without any actual kisses, most of the time.

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    • When I saw JTHJ in theaters, I was between two friends, and when the kiss started to happen, they both screamed, grab my arm on either side and buried their heads in my shoulder. It was like taking kids to their first scary movie or something. And it wasn’t fair because I wanted to bury my head in someone’s shoulder! That kiss is just horrible to watch!

      I would add to your theory that I also think old-fashioned directors don’t know how to do kisses. Yash Chopra had been directing for decades, and was the king of romance, but he had never had to do a kiss scene before, and I don’t think he knew how to hold the camera on it and stuff, or how to get his actors comfortable. Versus Imtiaz Ali who had done intimate scenes like that before and was really good at bringing those performances out.

      On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 8:54 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • The JTHJ kisses were terrrrrrrible. It managed to take the zero chemistry they had and made it go into negative digits. SRK looked so uncomfortable and it was hard to believe he had the least bit of attraction to her. It would have been more believable if he dumped Kat right then and there. I’ve never seen a pair like this before that has literally negative chemistry. It worked in Zero because when his character is obsessed with her, it’s not believable to the audience. Everyone knows he needs to wake up and stop the stupidity because we know he has Zero real attraction to her. btw, they have zero chemistry in interviews too.

        I honestly can’t figure out what they did in JTHJ. Don’t they have a choreographer or someone coordinating the whole thing.. like put your hand here, then move it here, tilt your head, etc??? How can it come out sooooo bad?

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        • Yashji was so new to this stuff, maybe he didn’t know he needed a choreographer? Certainly he had no sense of a need for the actors to feel extra comfortable together and in this scene.

          Also, HA! The End of the Affair came on TV just as you wrote this comment. It’s like you control the Universe!

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          • The characters and motivations were also so flimsy that nothing made any sense. So the actors were just playing themselves and trying to make it work. They were not in character because what character was there to begin with? There was nothing to work with.

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      • There is a moment in the “making of” video of JTHJ that is part of the tribute to Yashji where there are in the tube station where the kiss happens. You see Shah Rukh sitting on a bench and Yashji standing above him holding both his hands. Shah Rukh has that embarrassed
        blushing little boy look on his face. I’ve always wondered was that the moment when Yashji was trying to convince Shah Rukh to kiss on screen for the first time? And why then? Why for the first time in his career? Shah Rukh didn’t talk about the kiss in interviews but at once point he alluded to the fact that Yash Chopra could make him do things no one else could. It didn’t work. Imtiaz did a much better job.

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        • I am positive I saw an interview about it back when the movie came out where Shahrukh said something about it being a condition of being in the film, that they really wanted the kisses as “new” “modern” thing. And since he wanted to be in Yashji’s last film, he agreed. From that and other comments the picture I have is Aditya deciding as a business move that if they are going to throw all this money at this movie, and try to get people to see it, they need hot new names (Kat), and a new twist on the familiar name (Shahrukh), and thus a kiss as a marketing move. Plus to make the movie feel younger, since Yashji’s last film (Veer-Zaara) got a lot of complaints for being so old-fashioned. If Adi got that in his head, and made it non-negotiable with Shahrukh, I think Shahrukh would do it. Partly because he would really need to do this movie, and partly because he would trust Adi’s sense of it being the right move for his career.

          Problem is, it might have been good marketing and good career and all that, but it wasn’t right for the characters or the film.

          On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 3:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I hesitate to doubt you, but I thought I’d seen every interview on that film and was surprised he never spoke about the kiss. Could it have been one of the Hindi interviews?

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          • I think it was in a physical FilmFare. Which means both that it is unreliable, and that it may never have made it online. And go ahead, doubt me! Always doubt me! Doubt is good, especially of things you read online.

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    • JHMS is one of the best possible examples of writing up to the kiss and making it count – maybe even slightly overboard with all that layak talk – so you want it to come and it’s meaningful to actually see it. Jab We Met too. Imtiaz is good at this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tamasha too. I don’t like most of that film, but there is a kiss at a turning point in the plot that really has to deliver, and it does.

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      • Imtiaz can also really get the actors into their characters by giving them something to work with. They feel like real people whether you like them or not. I think a good actor can work with that and if kissing is part of it, they can do it in character.

        JTJH didn’t even have characters. That’s probably why the actors felt so uncomfortable. It was just SRK having to kiss Kat and not Harry kissing Sejal.

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  12. Great conversation. Another point is how parents are comfortable letting their kids dance to “item- songs” but would not let them watch movies with kissing scenes etc.

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  13. I actually thought the kiss/sit back up thing in JHMS was a tad too short. I understood that Harry was feeling insecure at that moment, but it felt a bit rushed after All. That. Build-up. Forget the hug, the camera should have just panned back and dissolved to black to give them a bit of privacy. 😘

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      • Yes, I did read this. Actually, the JHMS thread is how I ended up on your blog. I was fascinated by how people either loved or hated that film, with almost no in between.
        You *do* realize that he was essentially describing his current life situation, yeah? Three kids, would rather stay home playing games with them and write a book than go to work, wife has a successful, burgeoning business and is getting more attention.
        Personally? I think Harry’d get pretty bored with that after a bit. Tractors are only fun for a very little while. Then it’s just hot, boring, dusty work.
        And the kids grow up and leave. Harry’s too kinetic and … magnetic … to be *just* a farmer.
        They did throw an awesome wedding though! Perhaps a new business idea!

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        • Yes! I love this! They can partner with Anushka’s distant cousin, Other Anushka, and her husband Ranveer in their wedding planning business.

          More importantly, where do you land on the “do they have sex immediately, wait a day until they get married, get married immediately and then have sex, or what?” question?

          On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 9:04 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Seriously? I have them finalizing things right there on the little triangle lawn at the not-her-wedding wedding. I mean, that was the one glaring problem with that movie (for me). The whole “let’s not” was complete BS. Perhaps HE was being valiant and courteous, but you’re trying to convince me that Sejal wasn’t ready to fling with the smokin’ hot tour guide??? Do women not have NEEDS?? They shouldn’t have made it much past the airport, let alone Amsterdam. And then he was yelling her name out to the sea and she didn’t roll him then and there?? C’mon! I thought the premarital sex before arranged marriage thing was an accepted/acceptable … thing. It just didn’t seem realistic, ya know?

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          • Let’s at least allow them to find a more secluded corner! Maybe behind those curtains we see in the final shot?

            On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 9:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Well, then we are back to the “Sejal got a room in the hotel just in case and has it ready” theory.

            On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 9:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Only if the not-her-wedding wedding is actually *at* a hotel, and then I’m on board. I mean, why wait to get married when she just admitted that she’s not the sweet sister-type – she’s actually the terrible, run off with the tour guide type. Wedding tomorrow. Wedding night today!

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          • Yep, it is at a hotel. I think they specify the Oberoi in the script, a very very fancy hotel with lots of rooms.

            On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 9:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Maybe she let them take over the wedding date and plans but insisted on keeping the honeymoon suite just in case?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Just ‘cause I was the one complaining earlier about PDA, yet here I am advocating public … consummation. (I *do* have six kids though, so there you go. I’m pretty sure I was not present for at least 2 of those encounters though.)

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  14. I would also prefer for Indian movies to have the minimum amount or even no kissing at all (esspecially when it comes to the more seasoned actors). You can just tell that they are most of the time not comfortable with it and we’re kind of “guilt-tripped” into doing it. I only enjoy a kiss on screen if it actually feels genuine and right for the moment. The best kind of romances that I enjoyed had most of the time only a kiss on the neck or something. With the more younger actors like Ranveer for example, you can definitely see that there is no shame or the “weight of guilt” involved when they kiss on screen, it just seems like any other declaration of love/affection. I also have to say that (next to the very sexy kissing scene of Saif and Preity in “Salaam Namaste”) that I DID love the kiss of Anushka and Ranveer in “Band Baaja Baarat”! It was slow and awkward and passioned – just like it would be if two people that never really considered finding each other attractive in that way, would act. And I feel like esspecially Anushka not turning away from the kiss and actually kind of initiating/encouraging it, gave another kind of agency to her character in the film. But anyway, the JTHJ kiss was one of the most cringy moments I’ve ever witnessed in my life, just terrible (poor Shahrukh! Poor Katrina!). But I feel like Yash Chopra went that far with the romance cause he quickly realized that there elsewise would have been no chance for people to actually believe in the transition from “friendly aquintances” to actual lovers between Kat and Shahrukh. I think though that a kiss on the cheek and some deep eye contact would have had a similar effect. I am also not the biggest fan of the kiss that Anushka and Shahrukh shared in JHMS, yes it was a little less awkward but none the less way to quick and still stiff as hell. Again, I think that at the scene where they almost had it “going-on” in the bedroom, I would have liked more heated neck kissing and grabbing and in their later scene where he proposed to her, that we would have just made his confession and than they would have had this deep, intimate hug they later shared.

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