Hindi Cinema and the art of kissing!

Updated: Jul 08, 2014, 16:56 PM IST

Anindita Dev

The world recently celebrated International Kissing Day, a trend which started in the UK. To many, a kiss is a simple expression of love and to many others a sensuous way of initiating love. Nonetheless, kissing is an integral part of peoples` lives and perhaps one of the most private moments of togetherness.

A kiss that happens between two people behind closed doors in complete privacy has now been embraced by public at large and hence the gradual change in the perception. India may not be upfront in celebrating a kiss in the most gaudy way but nevertheless the role of a kiss has occupied an essential role in the Indian cinema today.

On-screen kiss has always been a subject to controversy since a long time. Be it the era of 1930 or the present time, seeing on-screen couples liplock has left many curious and half amused.

The first kiss shown in Indian cinema was that of Devika Rani’s four-minute passionate lip-lock with her real life husband Himanshu in the 1933 film `Karma`. This remain the longest kiss ever.

Soon after that portraying a kiss on-screen became a taboo and it was sidelined. In the 1960`s , any form of intimacy between the actors was symbolised by either the shaking of flowers, two birds coming together, the lights going off and so on.

A lip-lock was always eyed as something that should be kept away to keep the movie clean. But kisses have almost become indispensable in films today. `Raja Hindustani`, saw a passionate kissing sequence between Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor, leaving a number of people scandalised. Surprisingly, it was since then that kissing scenes between actors on screen started gaining mileage.

After the symbolic era of romance, Raj Kapoor`s `Bobby` brought about a firm change in Bollywood and established the trend of kissing once again. Not only did `Bobby` see Dimple Kapadia in a bold avatar but also it had kissing sequence between Rishi Kapoor and the actress. Even `Sagar` had a lip-lock scene between the two actors. But then, not many actors of that era dared to kiss.

Speaking of hyped kisses, a major breakthrough in Indian cinema came with Emraan Hashmi`s `Murder`. It broke all inhibitions that audience always kept regarding a lip-lock. Serial kisser Emraan had some erotic kisses and love-making sequence with the the sensuous Mallika Sherwat. The success of the movie only proved the changing mindset of the people and that they no longer fussed over a kiss on-screen.

Conservatism gave way to a refreshing broad mindedness. Even a family movie managed to win the heart of audiences despite a kissing sequence.Kiss is no longer considered indecent or scandalous (depends on how it is portrayed though). Crowd has become more receptive towards it. In fact directors have started to highlight kissing scenes as a part of their promotional strategy to lure the audience. The chemistry between on-screen pair builds the curiosity level among the fans and any form of intimacy between the actors on-screen is a pleasant delight.

It`s not that the kissing trend in the Indian cinema came about in the 1990`s.

It existed much before India got independence. After 1947, sensuality depicted on-screen was considered obscene and Cinematograph Act 1952 further strengthened it. The Act had put a hold on kissing on-screen by calling it `indecent`.Indian movies were bold during the initial stage.

Kissing was a common phenomena in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1929 silent film `A Throw of Dice`, Seeta Devi went on to kiss Charu Roy. Based on Mahabharata, the film is about two kings who are vying for the love of a hermit`s daughter.This could be considered Indian cinema`s first kiss, even before Devika Rani`s. The actresses then were not apprehensive about bold scenes unlike the actresses of the 60`s and 70`s. But what made filmmakers refrain from having kissing scenes is history now.

We have seen Indian cinema evolve from shying away to coming out in open and baring all.

The new breed of actors are more willing to experiment and have less inhibitions regarding kissing in front of the camera. Be it the lip-lock between Hrithik-Aishwarya, Katrina-Hrithik, Deepika-Ranbir, Alia-Varun, Alia-Arjun, Parineeti-Arjun, audience have always been intrigued by them. Their kiss has set the silver screen ablaze and left everyone asking for more.

Well, this could just be the beginning of a new kiss-and-tell era in Bollywood!

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