We should all copy the 'Jalebi' poster kiss. A kiss has no copyright

Like the twirls of the jalebi, a gesture of love in any form is sweet, even if imitated or acquired.

 |  3-minute read |   05-09-2018
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Kissing in India, especially in public, sparks more controversies than lighting up one's passion. One such kiss, seen in the poster of an upcoming movie, Jalebi, has riled up the Indian audience who are jeering at the filmmakers for "copying it" from the iconic 'Korean War Goodbye Kiss’ photo.

They are right. The poster in which the lead pair is seen engaged in a passionate kiss through the window of a train is a clear reflection of the 1950 photograph by Frank Brown.

kiss-copy_090518023258.jpgOn your toes: The poster of Jalebi (left) and the iconic 1950 photograph. (Credit: Twitter)

The photo is of Private Robert Maye and his wife, Gloria, kissing goodbye with the help of Harvey Wilson, left, and Frank  Harvey. The couple had been married 18 months and had a six-month-old daughter at the time. The 160th Infantry Regiment was departing for training camp, part of the Korean War troop call-up.

The iconic photograph basically symbolised the distress wrought by the Korean War.

While the Vishesh Films poster looks beautiful, and may or may not have a 'gloomy' romantic link, and may just be an endearing and mushy moment that Indians usually die to watch in movies, what is intriguing is the ridicule and insults that the poster has invited — the flood of memes, calling out the "plagiarism".

Why get so riled up by a kiss or the apparent lifting (if anything, a kissing moment should be uplifting)?

When was the idea of kissing original?

Have we all not done that ourselves or imagined doing that at some point in our life — to kiss the person we so desire in an iconic fashion. When have long, passionate kisses on screen, or folded between the pages of our favourite books, not fired our imagination?

kiss1_090518030240.jpgThe most original concept, love: No one should tell you how to kiss or whom to kiss. (Credit: Reuters)

To be fair to the Bhatts, why burden our filmmakers to come up with original kissing ideas when kissing itself has a long, sloppy history.

Kissing, which is neither universal among human beings, nor something unusual, has been a part of many cultures. At the same time, there are many cultures where there is no place for kissing, yet others that have imbibed the sweet, syrupy gesture.

It is neither innate, nor intuitive, yet something that's always evolving.

Conservatives still frown upon public kissing (especially erotic kissing and not the peck on the cheek), cynics see PDA (public display of affection) in it, and romantics seek legitimacy to the gesture. A kiss can come in any form — stolen, sealed in privacy, folded in letters or reclaimed in public; kissing while standing on your tippy toes or closing your eyes. But kiss we must.

There are many boundaries and borders that the kiss has transcended over the years, legitimising the urge of the lips to brush against each other, the tongues to touch and tickle, the saliva to mingle, the breaths to blend, unifying souls and emotions.

It is perhaps wrong to call kissing an act. 

It's an emotion, an expression.

How do you define, bracket and cage it within nomeclatures? A kiss is neither French, nor German or Italian, English or Indian. It is simply a kiss. The origin of kissing remains a mystery for a reason. Historians and anthropologists for years have linked it to various cultures and countries — from references to Vedic Sanskrit literature in India to Greeks and Romanians credited with popularising it. But kissing, just like the wonderful act in itself, has intermingled, touched and titillated debates and studies across corners.

kissing-animals_090518025407.jpgStop judging: How to kiss best. (Credit: Twitter)

Whatever be the case, kissing is not even unique to human beings. Studies in the past have claimed that primates frequently kiss one another. Even dogs, cats, snails and insects indulge in it.

So, why should kissing or imitating a particular kiss be called copying?

Can't we just lick and nuzzle and penetrate and glow in it?

Also read: Why don't we kiss and go viral?




Sanghamitra Baruah Sanghamitra Baruah

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