The first movie i ever saw in the theaters was Hum Aapke Hain Koun, in a large theater in a suburb of Bombay. I was ten years old then. I remember getting chills when it was time for a song and dance routine, but thinking back on it now, it wasn’t a fantastic movie by any means. But, I still remember the movie for its ridiculous characters, the dramatic overacting on the part of Salman Khan, and for the vibrant costumes. One thing I cannot recall from the movie, however, is any scene involving physical relations between the characters, although one could make assumptions as to what might have occurred.
Now, there are noticeably more sexual innuendos and issues relating to problems arising from this very phenomenon. Some of these conundrums include pregnancy, extramarital affairs, or just plain getting caught doing something you weren’t supposed to do. While some of these topics are in fact issues that need to be addressed, the Indian film industry, although leaps and bounds from blatant avoidance of these topics, still regards them with some caution. While such scenes are rampant in American movies, they’re far less frequent and more understated in Bollywood. Even a slight deviation, for example a french kiss, causes quite a stir as in the movie Dhoom2 .
With the recent confirmation of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan’s engagement, reports have surfaced that the Bachchan family asked for the kissing scene between Ms. Rai and Dhoom co-star Hrithik Roshan to be edited from the version of the film that will be shown in theaters. If the scene was retained in the movie, there would undoubtedly be questions about Ms. Rai’s “morals”, which might put a strain on the marriage. The fact that this was merely a movie, that it was fictional, that it was done in character, would mean very little to the scrutinizing media, who might take it as a opportunity to generate rumors of a romance between the Dhoom co-stars. Is it necessary to censor parts of movies that both actors consented to at the time of production? If an actor is against acting in roles that require him/her to participate in physical scenes, kissing or otherwise, they should make it clear from the beginning and take a stand rather than agreeing to the terms of the contract and asking for removal of the scene afterward. However, this could prove difficult to assert in India, where discussion or portrayal of sex is still extremely taboo.