we will look like idiots in front of the foreign press - ஷில்பா ஷெட்டி

வேறென்ன சொல்வது காசு கண்ணா காசு அவ்வளவுதான். இதன் காரணமாக எல்லாம் ரிச்சர்ட் கி(ய்)ர் நடிப்புத் திறமையின் மேலிருக்கும் மதிப்பு குறையவில்லை. அவ்வளவே.

Shilpa Shetty has said the media should report on AIDS awareness and not rake up the kisses Hollywood star Richard Gere gave her at an event in New Delhi on Sunday.

"This issue has been completely blown out of proportion. I'm not allowed to work and as an actress that is my priority. I have to give interviews now on this matter which is so trivial," Shilpa said.

Lashing out at the media for overreacting over the kisses, Shilpa defended Gere and said that there was nothing wrong in what he had done. "He was just striking a dance pose. It's not like he undressed me. If you report the issue like this we will look like idiots in front of the foreign press," she said.

Protests erupted in the holy city of Varanasi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Meerut and Indore a day after Hollywood star Richard Gere kissed actress Shilpa Shetty on the cheeks at an AIDS awareness event in the Capital.

Members of Shilpa Shetty Fan Club led by Iqbal and activists of the Vande Mataram Sanghursh Samiti took to the streets in Nai Sarak area raising anti-Gere slogans and Shilpa’s fans burning effigies of Gere demanding that he either apologise for his indecent conduct or else leave the country immediately.

''Shilpa Shetty conquered all racial swipes to win the Big Brother reality game show in England, but the Hollywood actor by unnecessarily planting kisses on Shilpa's cheek has not only done disservice to AIDS campaign but also blemished the rich Indian culture,'' PTI quoted Iqbal as saying.

Shiv Sena activists led by Gulshan Kapoor also set afire the Hollywood actor in effigy at Luxa crossing and demanded that his departure from the country.

Reacting to the incident, the BJP, too, disapproved the act saying it is not part of Indian culture. "Such a public display is not part of Indian tradition," PTI quoted party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar as saying.

Gere had joined Shilpa in a safe sex campaign among truckers in India, the country with the world's largest number of people living with HIV.

"No condom, no sex," an 58-year-old Gere had shouted in Hindi to the audience who roared his words back in unison and whistled loudly as Gere swooped down on Shilpa to kiss her on her hand and cheeks.

"I understand this is his culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such manner. I understand people's sentiments, but I don't want a foreigner to take bad memories from here,” PTI quoted Shilpa as saying.

"The media should concentrate on promotion of the cause of AIDS awareness rather than make 'issues' out of Richard Gere's kisses," Shilpa's spokesman Dale Bhagwagar told Reuters.

Shilpa has been involved in the AIDS awareness campaign in the country for some time and now and even played the female lead in a film on the issue, called Phir Milenge, starring Salman Khan as the male lead.

The kissing controversy comes not long after Shilpa was involved in the huge Big Brother controversy, the British TV reality show which she won.