New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) From two flowers bobbing together to lip-locking, Hindi films have surely come of age. Actors are shedding inhibitions to spice up the silver screen and not too many people are raising their eyebrows.
Forthcoming movies 'Love Aaj Kal' and 'Kites' have the lead pairs sharing passionate kisses on screen, but they are just following the examples set by flicks like 'Hum Tum', 'Jab We Met', 'Dev D' and 'Kambakkht Ishq'.
While 'Love Aaj Kal' sees Saif Ali Khan kissing Deepika Padukone, Anurag Basu's 'Kites' has already stirred a controversy for its steamy smooches between Hrithik Roshan and Latino beauty Barbara Mori.
'Love Aaj Kal' director Imtiaz Ali, however, insists that despite the kissing scenes, his film is a complete family entertainer.
'Kisses included...nobody will feel inhibited watching 'Love Aaj Kal'. No one will hesitate walking into the film with his family. All that is potentially objectionable in the film in the strictest of sense has been taken care of,' Ali had told IANS.
The film, which has Saif playing a double role, releases July 31.
Similarly, 'Kites' producer Rakesh Roshan insists the sensuality in his film is 'not meant to titillate'. 'The scenes are well integrated into the screenplay with conviction, purity and honesty,' he added.
Said Hrithik: 'Why are we even talking about kissing? Is that such a big deal? Hasn't our cinema grown up? Yes, there are kissing scenes in the film, but nothing to make me squirm. In fact, I'd be more than happy and completely comfortable watching those kissing scenes with my wife, son and parents when the film is released.'
Ketan Mehta's much-awaited bilingual 'Rang Rasiya' has also been in the news for its kissing sequences and sensuous scenes between Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen.
But the young brigade still has to break Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai's record -- the two gave the longest kissing scene in the 1933 movie 'Karma'. It was four minutes long and even Mallika Sherawat, who set a new record by doing 19 kissing scenes with Himanshu Malik in her debut film 'Khwaish', couldn't break it.
Considering the trend, the latest movies to have unabashed lip-locks are 'Kambakkht Ishq' and 'New York'.
While the former had kisses between Askhay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor, and a much publicised lip-lock between Akshay and Hollywood actress Denise Richards, 'New York' had a quick peck between John Abraham and Katrina Kaif.
Former Bond girl Richards even went on to describe her co-star as a 'good kisser'.
'Akshay was so down to earth and very genuine. He made me feel very comfortable; plus he's a good kisser! I can see why he's India's sexiest actor,' Richards had remarked.
Other recent films that have the lead actors sharing kisses are 'Ru Ba Ru', 'Karma, Confessions And Holi', 'Bachna Ae Haseeno' and 'Yuvvraaj'.
Also, the actors don't seem to mind kissing each other's real-life partners either. While Akshay kissed Saif's girlfriend Kareena in 'Kambakkht Ishq', Saif kisses Ranbir Kapoor's lady love Deepika in 'Love Aaj Kal'.
Ranbir on the other hand smooched John Abraham'S real-life partner Bipasha Basu in 'Bachna Ae Haseeno' and John recently exchanged a kiss with Salman Khan's girlfriend Katrina in their hit 'New York'.
Bollywood also has its 'serial kisser' in Emraan Hashmi, who earned the nickname for having passionate smooches in most of his films.
It's not as though kissing never existed in Hindi cinema earlier. Filmmakers of today seem to be bringing back the 1920s and 30s trend when actresses were not averse to kissing on screen. Released in 1921, 'Bilat Ferat' was the first love story that was interspersed with loads of intimate scenes and kisses.
The lingering kissing scenes appreantely disappeared from the Indian silver screen ever since a large group of women in Delhi presented a petition in 1954 to then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, asking him to curb the evil influence of films as it made their children acquire precocious sex habits and indulge in vices.
For Nehru, films were linked to modernisation. But this medium had to be checked and stricter censorship laws were enforced. After that nudity and intimate scenes became a no-no in Indian movies till the late 80s.
(Robin Bansal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)