End the circus over public kiss

Mumbai, Apr 27 | Updated: Apr 28 2007, 07:28am hrs
Asking the media to end the circus, Hollywood star Richard Gere said on Friday that his kissing of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty was due to his failure to understand local culture.

A Jaipur court, acting on a complaint by a local lawyer, described the kiss as an obscene act in public and ordered Geres arrest. The kiss sparked sporadic protests across India.

Gere twirled Shetty in his arms, arched her over and kissed her several times on the cheek at an event in New Delhi last week to promote AIDS awareness among Indian truckers. Gere has since left India. My clumsy attempt at a Shall We Dance dance move was a naive misread of Indian customs, Gere said in statement addressed to my dear Indian friends and issued by an AIDS charity he is associated with. To be honest, this recent media storm has taken me by complete surprise. End the circus around this episode, he said.