Days after Richard Gere caused an uproar in India by kissing a Bollywood actress on the cheek, three lawyers have filed complaints against the actor.
The complaints, filed in Indian courts, target the Hoax star, 57, and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, 31, for their smooch during a public HIV-awareness event in New Delhi, a local news story said Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. (See the video below.)
Photos of the two embracing were published on front pages all over India on Monday, sparking protests in several cities within the country, where public displays of affection remain largely taboo. Crowds even burned effigies of Gere.
In one of the court complaints, attorney Poonal Chandra Bhandari claimed the actors committed "an obscene act" in a public place, which is deemed unacceptable to India's conservative society, according to the AP.
In another complaint, two lawyers filed against Shetty and private TV channels for broadcasting videos of the kissing incident. These types of complaints against celebrities are said to be common in India and are often launched by people seeking publicity.
For her part, Shetty attempted to calm the protests, saying the hug and kiss were not obscene and that the public was overreacting, the AP reports. "He was only trying to entertain," she said of Gere.
On Wednesday, her rep, Dale Bhagwagar, blamed Shetty's high profile for her being targeted. "The media should concentrate on the promotion of the cause of AIDS awareness rather than making an issue out of kisses," he told AP.
On Tuesday, a magistrate in the Indian city of Jaipur demanded that by next week the private news channel NDTV produce the original videotape of the infamous kiss, the Press Trust of India news agency said. That complaint is expected to be heard on Wednesday.