When he kissed: How Emraan Hashmi broke through Bollywood's strongest taboo and made it normal to smooch on screen!
Emraan Hashmi, slowly but smoothly, cheated India into accepting 'the kiss'. For this, he deserves a peck on the cheek!
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Remember the time when two flowers, apparently fencing each other in mortal combat, would take over your television screens?
I never understood the logic behind it. Pollination, perhaps?
That’s the closest I could ever get to drawing a parallel.
But the truth is, Hindi cinema has just been prudish that way for the longest time.
Kisses would be replaced with flowers 'making out'. Sex scenes would swiftly change to lightning in the skies, the ‘morning after’ or, better still, a baby bump a few months down the future.
You’d imagine that an entire film industry that pretty much rests on love stories, love songs or love-wale dances would be a bit more open and show romance the way it actually is.
Enter Emraan Hashmi and his mighty kiss-a-thon.
No, he wasn’t the first man to ever land correctly on a woman’s lips — but he was the man who perfected it with practice. Passionate kisses up until Emraan were either portrayed ‘coyly’ or as a ‘mistake’ or just plain wrong — especially thanks to the backlash they had to withstand off-screen when torchbearers of 'Bharatiya sanskriti' would show up to vandalise theatres.
But 1988 was a good year for the kiss in Bollywood — with Aamir Khan’s college romance Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Vinod Khanna’s Dayavan both dropping the same year.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak was acceptable — young love absconding from home trying to a make a life of their own in a big, bad world was a theme India seemed to be fine with. Bacchein galti kar jaatein hain, and then, given that they had to pay a hefty price in the end became compensatory poetic justice, of sorts, for those who would raise 'concerns'. The film — and the kiss — broke records but were never considered crass.
Dayavan, on the other hand, wasn’t shown any mercy.
Madhuri Dixit and Vinod Khanna’s steamy lovemaking scene was widely criticised, with talks of how Madhuri ‘compromised’ and how this became a standout controversy in Vinod’s otherwise pretty controversial life, doing the rounds.
Then there was Dil (1990) — the kiss that was left hanging, Raja Hindustani (1996) — where Karisma Kapoor completely dismissed Aamir’s consent, Ishq (1997) — the seriously public display, so on and so forth.
In some way, therefore, it would be fair to point out how Aamir Khan could have easily walked away with the ‘serial kisser’ title.
But here’s why we’d still give it to Emraan.
For starters, Emraan’s is a passionate, lustful, often slimy (presumably), hungry sort of a kiss, that was not diluted with the nuances of love. He didn’t wait for ‘moments,’ he created them — bus stops, in the middle of the road, clubs, you name it. Satiation at the spur of the moment was all that mattered, that’s it. Things would often never even reach the bedroom — as is the case in real life, too. And that’s absolutely fine.
You just have to try. And try again. And again. And... (Source: YouTube screengrab)
Secondly, he kept at it, sticking his tongue out to those who cried foul, then putting it to good use later. What started off as shocking, yet strangely gratifying became delightful, then fun, then cool, then just obvious. He did it so frequently that there was no novelty factor left to ‘the kiss’ that probably led to many thigh-clenching awkward moments earlier.
But, after all, why should a kiss mean anything more than a kiss? Why should it have to stand for love when all you're really feeling is just carnal desire? And who is to say that only 'pure love' should lead to a kiss when in reality, you may or may not fall in love after every kiss, or even after several.
Did he propagate a sort of creepiness that immediately struck a chord with (most) Indian men? Yes.
Did he help the Indian audience kiss prudishness goodbye? Also, yes.
For, if now, we can debate female masturbation on screen or wonder why we’ve not grown up enough to show actual lovemaking scenes like Hollywood, a little bit of that credit goes to this man.
And it all started with a kiss. One that makes you melt in the other’s arms and leaves you dizzy. Every time.