Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan still struggles with is the public displays of affection so commonly seen on the silver screen.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had her first screen kiss with actor Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2 in 2006, but admits she is still less than comfortable with the prospect of such intimate scenes.
In an new interview with Sir David Frost, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan said that the scene caused such a stir in India that she even received legal threats following the movie’s release.
She said: “I did it once prominently in the movie Dhoom and it was so topical, and you’ll be surprised, I mean I actually got a couple of notices, legal notices, from some people in the country turning around and saying <<You are iconic, you’re an example to our girls you have led your life in such an exemplary manner, they’re not comfortable with you doing this on screen so why did you?>>.
“And I was like wow, I’m just an actor, doing my job, and here I am being asked to offer an explanation for a couple of seconds in a two, three hour piece of cinema.”
But Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also said that she had many doubts about signing up to appear in Dhoom 2 simply because of the kissing scene.
She said: “It was around the same time that the interest in the western world from Hollywood, or European cinema, English cinema, from the industry there was a lot interest in me and the possibility of me working overseas, and I had already declined a couple of scripts purely on the basis of not being comfortable with the very physical scenes and the kissing because I’d never done that on screen and I just wasn’t very comfortable with the idea.
And I was quite sure even my audience was not very comfortable with me doing it on-screen. I was actually quite convinced about it but I still said okay, if I have to go down this path let me first do it in our cinema, in an Indian piece of cinema, and let me see if all my doubts are true, and they were.”
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan added that while on-screen kisses are becoming more common in Bollywood, it will still be a long time before they become the standard.
She said: “A lot of actors have kissed before that movie, they continue to kiss on screen till this very minute, but public display is not that common in Indian culture. Even our actors, it’s very rare that actors look comfortable in our cinema on screen kissing.
“It almost looks like it’s a planned moment, just to make much ado about a moment or to excite the audience. It’s made into this separate entity from a scene, it’s not very comfortable in our screenplay.”
However, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan explained to David Frost that passion in Bollywood is expressed via different means – through song and dance.
She said: “What the kiss is in the western movies is what our songs do, and that’s where our audience experiences all the emotions that the western audience does when their actors kiss. So that’s a very comfortable space for us but I don’t think the kiss visually has been.
“It’s getting there, I mean now it’s become very, very common so I think, I think, I still think our audience is getting comfortable with it, but I don’t think universally.”