kiss bliss

Bring your lips together for ‘Labon Ka Karobaar’, the snog song from Aditya Chopra’s ‘Befikre’

There is no sweeter dedication to the joys of kissing in all of Hindi cinema, and it’s not for want of trying.

Whoever said Indians don’t kiss? Aditya Chopra’s upcoming film Befikre has been putting out a series of posters featuring its lead pair in various stages of lip-locking. Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor have been at it like there’s no tomorrow in friendly European locations where such activities do not invite the attention of the moral police or Pahlaj Nihalani.

One of the posters for ‘Befikre’.
One of the posters for ‘Befikre’.

Chopra has gone one step further to promote his December 9 release. The first song from the soundtrack is appropriately called Labon Ka Karobaar (This kissing business). The video of the smooth tune, composed by Vishal-Shekhar and sung by Papon, is an ode to the joys of public smooching in Paris. From an elderly couple to aggressive lovers at a bus stop, Chopra seems to be saying, look, this is how the City of Love lives up to its name. Full marks to Chopra for featuring a lesbian kiss at 2 mins and 15 secs, and for ending the video with the slogan “Kiss Carefree. Love Carefree. Live Carefree.”

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‘Labon Ka Karobaar’.

It’s rare for a movie song to celebrate the kiss with such abandon. There are various rules about the kiss in Hindi films, the first of which is that there is no such thing as the kiss in Hindi films. A liplock scene rarely goes unremarked upon, but it has been accepted that songs can celebrate the act and go where the rest of the production does not dare to.

Even here, there are numerous obstacles. The Hindi word for kiss, chumma, has a ring of obscenity to it, which is probably why musical tracks about the one thing that citizens of the world’s most populous nation do not do are couched in lasciviousness.

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‘Zara Zara Touch Me’ from ‘Race’ (2008).

By and large, Hindi film heroes and heroines bring their quivering lips close and then freeze before the liplock. It’s usually the woman who turns away, her face contorted with what seems to be pleasure but is actually terror. Since kissing can sometimes be a prelude to sex, its screen depiction necessarily defers to Indian values. Flowers and plants suddenly come to life and start colliding with a force that the average botanist will be hard-pressed to explain. Cheeks may bounce off each other, collarbones may be explored and throats examined, but the lips may not meet. A strategically placed garment or a sudden cutaway to an inconsequential object in the vicinity will veil the actual act and end the collective discomfiture. In such a repressed atmosphere, it is easy to mishear “Kis Kisko” as Kiss Kiss Ko”.

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‘Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon’ from ‘Tumse Achha Kaun Hai’ (1969).

The film song that is set in locations designed to encourage the discarding of inhibitions, such as the fog-filled hill station, the decadent European city, or the rain-drenched city quarter, is the best possible excuse to finally let lips meet, but it is not that easy. Somebody is always watching – government censors, the censorious public, the movie star’s fans who are embarrassed on their icon’s behalf. In a song from Ram Jaane (1995), Shah Rukh Khan, who famously does not kiss in his films, prefers to catch an animated pair of red lips rather than let his own do their work.

‘Phenk Hawa Mein Ek Chumma’ from ‘Ram Jaane’ (1995).
‘Phenk Hawa Mein Ek Chumma’ from ‘Ram Jaane’ (1995).

Who can blame Khan or his peers, most of whom regard kissing as a moment of weakness that can have unforeseen consequences? To misquote from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns (1992), a kiss can be deadly if you mean it.

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‘Zehar Hai Ke Pyaar Hai Tera Chumma’ from ‘Sabse Bada Khiladi’ (1995).

Some of the disgust associated with kissing is because it has been stacked in favour of the puckering male. It is usually the man who demands a smooch from the woman, and since he is accompanied by a posse of leering men, the woman flees in the opposite direction. She is often tamed by the end: one small step for the Hindi film hero and a giant misstep for the portrayal of women on the screen.

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‘Jumma Chumma De De’ from ‘Hum’ (1991).

This tendency of Hindi cinema to assault the lips of terrified women was brilliantly captured by the great artist Atul Dodiya in his painting series Saptapadi: Scenes from Marriage Regardless (2003-2006). One of the paintings is from the movie Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1993), and the unwilling recipient is Sridevi.

Atul Dodiya on the Hindi film kiss.
Atul Dodiya on the Hindi film kiss.

Rarely – very rarely – there emerges the upright Indian male who will protect his mouth as the shameless Indian female tries to make contact with it. He will offer his cheek, like Jesus, and never succumb to temptation even when she is throwing desperate hints his way.

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‘Chumma Chumma’ from ‘Pataal Bhairavi’ (1985).

A woman who is open to kissing is usually of questionable character. What other kind will describe her lips as “juicy” and invite the attention of such chick magnets as Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar?

‘Hoth Rasiley’ from ‘Welcome’ (2007).
‘Hoth Rasiley’ from ‘Welcome’ (2007).

Songs that promise guilt-free and presumably equitable snogs can be deeply misleading. Our devious filmmakers will add a track called Kiss of Love to a soundtrack but shroud the highly anticipated moment in darkness, forcing viewers to use their imagination instead.

When the kiss is actually consummated, it usually makes the headlines and sells tickets. Emraan Hashmi has earned the unfortunate reputation of being Hindi cinema’s leading smooch artist. It all began with Murder (2004), Anurag Basu’s copy of the Hollywood film Unfaithful (2002). The song Bheege Hont Tere Pyaasa Dil Mera (lyrics by Sayeed Quadri) left little to the imagination, and Basu piled on the torrid lovemaking imagery. The result: Murder was a massive hit, and poor Hashmi found that his lips were in greater demand than his other skills.

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‘Bheegey Hont Tere’ from ‘Murder’ (2004).

Keen purveyors of the science of the union of the lips might, however, find fault with Hashmi’s potentially injury-causing suction action. They might prefer more subtle practitioners of the art, such as Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. That is also why Labon Ka Karobaar from Befikre is so important. Above all, it is a how-to-kiss primer, one whose video will be watched, paused, and rewound endlessly by Indians who don’t usually kiss, but are finally beginning to.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.