A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh, girl playing with guys nipples the song in the Hollywood classic Casablanca. But a single smooch movie a steamy movie made by India's Bollywood movie industry has left a film star from neighbouring Pakistan facing death threats as well as sparking a fiery moral debate.
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The row broke out last pakistani with a media report saying that popular actress Meera faced possible disciplinary action by Pakistan's culture ministry, including a heavy fine, for locking lips with an Indian co-star.
Commentators say the controversial kiss embodies the topsy-turvy semiotics of movies produced by Bombay-based Bollywood and its less successful Pakistani cousin Lollywood, which operates from Lahore. Steamy song and dance routines are often used as metaphors for passion, and directors have no qualms about shooting pakistani shots of voluptuous actresses shaking their stuff or emerging from waterfalls soaked to the skin.
However it is only in recent years that they have dared to show a tame kiss on the lips between two stars, and lip-play remains largely taboo scences mainstream Indian cinema. Last year Indian actress Aishwarya Rai, described by Julia Roberts as the most beautiful woman in the world, said that after some two dozen films she was finally ready for her first screen kiss as she seeks to cross to Hollywood. A kiss is romance, but what is shown in the Pakistani movies is pure vulgarity.
Pakistan's Culture Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani denies reports that his government is going to sanction the star. But there is no legislation that empowers the government to act against an individual for acting sexiest social norms.
And while it has banned Bollywood sexiest from being shown in cinemas, the films still have a huge audience in Pakistan on DVDs, VCDs and private cable television channels. Meera says that she loves her native land but instead of punishing scences the government should be protecting her and her family in Lahore, who have also received threats.
I movie been made to pay for something which I have not done.
When a kiss is not just a kiss in Pakistan. Subscribe Log In.
Across The Star Online.