Shilpa Shetty, the Indian actress known for her roles in Hindi movies and as a TV personality, has been cleared of “obscenity” charges dating back to a 15-year-old incident at a charity event.
At an Aids awareness event in 2007 in India, Hollywood star Richard Gere publicly kissed Shetty on the arm and on both cheeks while they were being videoed on stage. The brief, if strange, moment provoked a fiery reaction in India, with radical Hindu groups taking umbrage with the public display of affection, and in particular criticizing Shetty for not resisting.
You can footage of the moment via Dailymotion here:
At the time, a judge issued arrest warrants for both parties on charges including “indecency” and “obscenity”. The case against Gere was swiftly dropped, and the actor, who is a Buddhist, was soon allowed to return to India.
Shetty’s charges, however, languished in the court system until it was dismissed by a Mumbai judge this week, who called the case “groundless”.
The Gere interaction was not the first time Shetty had been accused of obscenity. In 2006, the actress also faced criticism for pictures printed in a newspaper of her and fellow actress Reema Sen.
Outside of India, Shetty is known for her appearance in season five of UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother, in which she was the victim of alleged racism and bullying by fellow housemates Jade Goody, Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd.