- Pakistani model and actress Meera has become enmeshed in an “Islamic family values” controversy following her appearance in the Hindi-language Bollywood musical thriller Nazar, in which she gets to kiss Indian co-star Ashmit Patel.
- Further controversy ensued once the Pakistan Film Censor Board announced that Meera would be receiving a “Peace Award.”
Pakistani model & actress Meera fined after kissing co-star Ashmit Patel in the supernatural Bollywood thriller Nazar
Popular Pakistani model and actress Meera, 27, has been burdened with a “heavy fine,” courtesy of Pakistan’s Ministry of Culture.
The reason for the stern ruling?
Meera, whose previous credits include the romantic dramas Inteha (1999) and Salakhain (2004), kisses her Indian co-star Ashmit Patel in Soni Razdan’s supernatural Bollywood musical thriller Nazar (“Sight”), which, like Irvin Kershner’s Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), features clairvoyance, romance, and murders – in addition to, judging by the publicity images, quite a bit of steamy sensuality.
Nazar is thus reminiscent of other “scandalous” fare that date back to film’s origins: from the 1896 May Irwin and John Rice kiss in the 18-second short The Kiss (1896) to Hedy Lamarr skinny-dipping in Gustav Machaty’s Ecstasy (1933), Otto Preminger’s (loss of) virginity-themed blockbuster The Moon Is Blue (1953), Louis Malle’s child prostitution tale Pretty Baby (1978), Jean-Luc Godard’s Christian-tinged erotic drama Hail Mary (1985) – the list goes on.
Offense to Islamic values + (alleged) target of ‘extremists’
According to OutlookIndia.com, Pakistan’s powers-that-be deemed the Nazar kissing scene offensive to “Islamic ethics and moral values.” So much so, that the Pakistani government is reportedly considering a ban on Pakistani actors from acting in Indian films.
And that’s not all, as far as Meera is concerned.
The BBC reports that she has asked for government protection “from extremists here who have threatened my life” as a consequence of the Nazar kiss. Some, however, have asserted that her statement is just a publicity gimmick.
Widespread bootlegged copies aside, Nazar will probably not be released in Pakistan, as Indian films have been banned in that country since the 1965 India-Pakistan War. (Some sources have the ban on Indian films being instituted in 1962.)
All appearances to the contrary, rumors that the prudish U.S. Federal Communications Commission has been taking lessons from Pakistan’s religious censors seem to be unfounded.
Something else: Pakistan isn’t the only country that has been going after sexually daring Bollywood productions.
Update: Pakistan lifted the ban on Indian films in 2006.
Contentious Peace Award
July 2005 update: According to the Hindustan Times, following the Nazar kiss to-do Meera found herself in one more imbroglio, this time for receiving a Peace Award from Pakistan Film Censor Board Chairman Ziauddin. Go figure.
Those who thought that Meera’s controversial appearance in the supernatural Bollywood thriller didn’t merit a peace award have accused the chairman of favoritism.
Lastly, Pakistan’s Ministry of Culture has denied having taken any action against the kissing actress.
“Meera Nazar Kiss Controversy” endnotes
Ashmit Patel and Meera Nazar images: Vishesh Films, via the website SantaBanta.com.
“Meera Nazar Kiss Controversy: Bollywood Thriller Too Hot” last updated in September 2021.