Richard Gere Smooches Shilpa Shetty, Sparks Outrage

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Richard Gere.

He's always good for a story. Sometimes involving gerbils.

This time, though, it's his repeated kisses of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty that have him making headlines. The smooching took place at an AIDS awareness event in India Monday, sparking outrage from demonstrators burning effigies of the actor.

Wow. While we've considered burning an effigy of Spencer Pratt after a couple of episodes of The Hills, this reaction seems a tad extreme to us.

Footage of the Hollywood star sweeping Shilpa Shetty in a dramatic embrace at the Sunday event in New Delhi was repeatedly aired on news channels Monday

Many saw the act as an outrage against Shilpa Shetty's modesty and Indian culture, though Shetty herself angrily dismissed the protests as an "over-reaction" that made India look silly.

Groups of men burned and kicked effigies of the actors in protests across India, including the cities of New Delhi, Kanpur, Meerut, Varanasi and Indore.

Some called for the actors' deaths. Others wanted public apologies. One can only guess which group Gere nemesis Sylvester Stallone falls into.

But Shetty, the winner of the "Celebrity Big Brother" reality TV show in Great Britain this year, said the reaction to the kiss made India look "regressive."

"I admit it went a little overboard but that was not the intention," she said to a crowd of journalists and protesters that had besieged her film set in Mumbai on Monday evening.

"He did not do anything obscene," she said of Gere, adding that they had since spoken on the phone. "He apologized to me and told me to tell the media that he apologized."

She said Gere was only re-enacting his moves from the film Shall We Dance, with Jennifer Lopez, in an attempt entertain the audience and communicate in a Bollywood style as he did not speak Hindi.

The event was held Sunday night to encourage truckers - seen as a high-risk group in India's fight against AIDS - to wear condoms during sex.

They whooped with delight and whistled loudly as Richard Gere swooped down on a visibly delighted Shetty to kiss her on her hand and a number of times on one side of her face.

"No condom, no sex," a the 58-year-old Gere shouted in Hindi to thousands of truck drivers who roared his words back in unison at a dusty fairground in New Delhi.

Authorities in India have focused on high-risk groups such as truckers, who have helped spread the virus across the country as many of them have sexual intercourse with Paris Hilton prostitutes during their journeys and later infect their wives back home.

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shilpa is a very sexyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

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shilpa shetty is very bad

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I completely agree with what Priyanka and Shivani Sharma have said. The younger generations in India should not have been making it a big deal as desired by those bunch of good-for-nothing 'mindless chickens' who are taking it to the streets.

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Why has it crossed out Paris Hilton and written prostitutes next to it?
If that's supposed to be a joke it's way out of order and completely not funny.

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Hi,
Guys who cares..shilps must have sexed up thousands of men(dont forget south movies :-) ) which means if richard does this little act it should be fine after all who in india does not fantasize over bollywood females and shilpa is one of them.chill guys

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EK DUM BAKVASH BUDHO KISS KARI GYO

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While the reaction was over the top, when I saw the video of Gere forcing himself on Shilpa, I was disgusted. She clearly didn't want this guy kissing her or bending her over backwards, she was wriggling to turn away. Who the heck is Gere to forcibly kiss a woman? He looked like an old goat. It reminded me of Adrian Brody kissing Halle Berry a few years ago at the Oscars. Totally out of line. Both men deserved to be slapped.

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As an Indian citizen in the US for the past few years, I personally don't feel "offended". But what Mr Gere failed to see is that Indian society is still relatively conservative (or, at least, large swathes of it -- and that number translates into millions of people). I guess what ticked people off was the whole "swooping" and bear-hug combo. It is essential that a Buddhist like Mr Gere learn to draw boundaries in social theaters that he may not be familiar with. If this were a private gathering of like-minded socialite, no one would have bothered. But to do what he did in front of thousands of folks is very uncomfortable and upsetting for a lot of people, in a society in which public display of affection is generally frowned upon (I am, of course, not referring to the urban, hip crowd).

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Here is the youtube video
http://youtubeplayer.googlepag...