Tuesday, 17 April 2007

'Death to Shilpa' after Gere kiss

He may have a reputation as a ladies man - but Richard Gere is now public enemy number one in India.

Effigies of the Hollywod actor have been burned after he repeatedly kissed Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness event.

He had joined Shetty, the winner of the "Celebrity Big Brother" in a safe sex campaign for lorry drivers.

The 58-year-old shouted in Hindi to thousands of truck drivers who roared with delight and whistled loudly as Gere swooped down to kiss Shetty to kiss her on her hand and a number of times on one side of her face.

But it started to go wrong when groups of men turned on him and started shouting "Down with Richard Gere".

They burnt the Hollywood star's effigies and kicked the smoking remains in the northern Indian cities of Kanpur, Meerut and Varanasi as well as in the central city of Indore.

The protesters said Gere's kissing of Shilpa was against Indian culture.

Some burnt Shetty's posters, shouting "Death to Shilpa Shetty", and danced around the smouldering ashes, TV footage showed.