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Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani. Wikimedia Commons

By- Khushi Bisht

For more than a century, Bollywood, or Hindi cinema, has been the backbone of India’s film industry. With over 1200 films produced annually, India’s film industry is among the world’s largest. Bollywood’s popularity stands out among all other national cinemas as a one-of-a-kind phenomenon.


But there used to be a period when even the tiniest romantic scenes in the film were outrageous in the film industry. Back then Bollywood was unable to recognize kissing scenes as yet another part of life portrayed on screen. The crowd was uneasy with such scenes at the time, and there were few of them in the movies. For almost a century, intimate scenes were considered heresy and have been a controversial issue in Bollywood films, and a source of embarrassment and humiliation. Any time anyone does it, it sparks an argument.

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However, as time progressed, the film industry changed, and the crowd changed with that too. It was in the late 1980s, directors started to display material that questioned the censor board’s conservative nature. The industry has now transitioned into a new age of romance and love. The taboo of kissing in Hindi movies has changed drastically. Although kissing scenes have become common in recent years, they were once very rare and shocking. Do you know when Bollywood’s first kissing scene was filmed?


Unprecedented kissing scene in Karma (1933). Wikimedia Commons

The first kissing scene in Bollywood was recorded 88 years ago, in the film Karma, which was released in 1933. Karma was one of the first Bollywood movies to display a kissing scene. Bollywood stars, Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai were the ones to introduce the Hindi film industry to the kissing scene. Devika Rani was regarded as Indian cinema’s first lady.

It was also the longest kiss ever captured in the Indian celluloid. The kissing scene was not intense. It was quite a one-sided kiss. Devika Rani kissing the hero, who happens to be her real-life husband Himanshu Rai, in the hopes of reviving him from unconsciousness after he was bitten by a snake. The scene lasted for four minutes and is considered the longest kiss in Hindi cinema. Maybe, to the stunned crowd of the time, it appeared to be genuinely long. And, as of 2014, it still holds the record for the longest kissing scene in Indian cinema.

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In 2011, India released a stamp honoring Devika Rani Chaudhuri, the First Lady of Indian Cinema. Wikimedia Commons

In the 1930s, Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani performed the unimaginable. For their film ‘Karma,’ they filmed a lip-lock scene. Even now, kiss scenes cause outrage, so envision a smooch scene back in the 1930s.

The on-screen kiss took place at a period when Indian cinema was reluctant to exhibit provocative scenes. Still, one of the very first on-screen kisses, it was a daring and speechless sight for Hindi cinema.


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