OPINION

Koffee with Karan: Mr. Gere, Will You Marry Me?

May 21, 2007
Sakshi Juneja

No, the title of this post does not reflect my innermost desires. Firstly the man is way too old for me (yaar I am still stuck at sweet sixteen, so what if it's at heart), secondly as Richard Gere said it himself on last night's Koffee With Karan, "Sex plus women, equals only my wife".

So you must be wondering, who the heck is the title hinting at?

Well, here is my answer in Mr. Gere's style: Sex + Man = Caren Karan Johar.

When Kjo darling gushed to his guest, "My mother goes weak in her knees every time she sees you on television", I couldn't help but wonder - Is he really talking about his mum's knees or his own!

Dressed in a pretty pink shirt and light beige blazer, head tilted 45 Degrees to the right, girly giggles, those undertone teasing smirks, couches moved much closer, rosy cheeks especially when the Man of the Hour called him "Chweet", boss even I could feel the butterflies nibbling in Karan's stomach.

Now the above isn't a figment of my imagination, I mean it was clear from Karan's body language during the 60 minute episode that he was totally captivated by Richard's humble inside and super-sexy outside. Then again who wouldn't? If I were Gay (a hypothetical situation, people) then this man would make "Heterosexuality" look like a worthwhile changeover. Looks like apna King Khan has some serious competition now and I am not talking about Hindi films here.

On a slightly serious note, I hope those dim-witted political leaders, lawyers and particularly that brain-choked magistrate, who were all part of the Anti-Gere Campaign, had a look at this episode and realized how truly important this man and his contribution (for the past 8 years) has been for our country's unfortunate citizens.

His commitment for social causes cannot be doubted but what's even more impressive is his in-depth knowledge of the issues he is fighting for, be it HIV crisis in India or China's takeover of Tibetan culture.

When Karan questioned him about India's Superpower status and what he thought of it, Richard so precisely laid out our nation's strong points and areas where we could improve and how we should improve - for a moment I actually did believe his words but then the grin on host's face brought me back to reality, as if saying, "Come on, who the fuck are we kidding here".

Overall, I agree this episode did lack in humor but then it was equally backed by matured conversation between the host and his guest. Something different to what we are used to seeing on this particular talk-show and so much better than those useless guests like Kunal Kapoor, John Abraham, Ritesh Deshmukh, Soha Ali Khan and the likes.

Saakshi O. Juneja is an active blogger, feminist and overboard dog lover. Currently working as a Business Development Manager for a sportswear manufacturing company in Mumbai, India. Did graduation in Marketing & Advertising from Sydney, Australia. As far as blogging is concerned...is a complete Blog-a-holic.
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#1
Amrita
URL
May 21, 2007
10:35 AM

BWAHAHAHA! I got so embarassed for 'Caren' that I had to switch channels. Love Gere and he had a good thought i.e. coming on a show like that guaranteed a specific audience esp young people (I guess?) but I still think it was a mismatch. KwK isn't exactly about saving the world, you know? But I should watch it whenever it repeats. See if I was right. When's the repeat btw?

#2
Shaan Khan
URL
May 21, 2007
10:56 AM

I have been told of an era in Bollywood when G.P. Sippy used to go to Shammi Kapoor's house. In front of all present, Mr. Kapoor would drop his pants, urinate in a clear glass and then ask Mr. Sippy to drink it. Only after that, Shammi would agree to work in Sippy's film.

That was wrong. Bollywood has come along way. While producers and directors are still subjected to a lot of bull shit, a few star directors have emerged. Today a Farhan Akhtar gives an ego bruising verbal lashing to Big B on the sets of Lakshya. Today, all the stars are begging to work with K Jo or Adi. Ofcourse these star dircetors cannot work with everyone and hence they get disparaged behind their backs. K Jo in particular has so many envious actors wanting to work with him that had he been really Gay they would have outed him with names, dates etc. The fact that it has not happened tells you something. On the other hand many a Pooja and Artis have been known to be around K Jo (he has an active life). The sad truth is that in India well behaved and polished males have always been called gay for no reason at all.

I think K Jo did a great job in making Gere speak his mind (be informal). I give him credit for all his accomplishments.

#3
Sanjay Garg
May 21, 2007
11:32 AM

This blind adulation of Gere is not shared by most rational, thinking people. Well informed NRIs who know how things really work outside of India cannot fail to notice how Gere is being used to problematize both India and China in one stroke.

Nothing wrong in listening to Gere but going to the extent of justifying his open and public assault of Shilpa seems somehow pathetic.

#4
Sanam
May 21, 2007
02:30 PM

Dr Sanjay Garg: "but going to the extent of justifying his open and public assault of Shilpa"

My questions

1. What is your definition of assault?
2. Did Shilpa feel assaulted?

#5
Sanjay Garg
May 21, 2007
03:07 PM

Sanam asked:
1. What is your definition of assault?
2. Did Shilpa feel assaulted?


- When a woman is raped, do you ask "did the woman feel raped?"
- When a woman is murdered, do you ask "does the woman feel murdered?"

In most societies, including in India, the key legal determinant of sexual molestation has to do with the woman giving explicit voluntary consent to being touched physically. For this not to fall in the category of assault, all that Shilpa has to do is admit that she had given explicit voluntary consent to Gere that he could touch and kiss her in a public forum.

#6
Sanam
May 21, 2007
03:18 PM

Dr. Sanjay Garg:

What does Shilpa say after the event? Did she say she was assualted or did she defend Mr. Gere?

By the woman(or man) is considered raped if the victim says so. In this case, Your so called victim is screaming out aloud, Dr Sanjay Garg I was not assualted. Par tum ho ki uski suntey hi nahi. apna hi bansuri bajaye ja rahey ho. Yaar uski bhi sun lo.

Or is that Shilpa does not understand she was assaulted and you are helping her to understand that it was an assault.

#7
Sanjay Garg
May 21, 2007
04:16 PM

Sanam: First, please do not address me as Dr. Sanjay Garg. I ignored it the first time around because I thought it was an abbreviation for "Dear" but now I believe it is some unfortunate misunderstanding on your side. "Sanjay" is fine. I'm not fussy.

Second, you have ignored the substantive issues I had raised earlier. Kindly respond to those first before posing any further questions.

#8
Sanam
May 21, 2007
06:00 PM

Sanjay,

One I do not think your questions are relevant to the shilpa episode, so I ignored them. The issue as you pointed out in your first post was " "but going to the extent of justifying his open and public assault of Shilpa". There is no mention of a rape victim. Or is there one?

If I remember the shilpa episode. The victim, according to you ( shilpa), did she protest?


But still, to answer your question (a), Yes the victim is asked if she was raped. If she denies it, then it is not rape. As Qustion(b). That is different completely different from rape.


#9
Sanjay Garg
URL
May 21, 2007
10:48 PM

I believe you have still missed my key questions:

1. Did Shilpa, explicitly and voluntarily, consent to being touched and kissed in public by Gere?
2. If the answer to (1) is no, then Gere is guilty of sexual harrassment or assault or molestation. Take your pick.
3. If the answer to (1) is yes, then why was she trying to escape him on stage? why did she say to the truck driver audience while she was still on stage "yeh thoda zyaada ho gaya"?

Many women who have been raped prefer not to press charges or even admit to rape. This just means that the woman has decided not to pursue the matter, for whatever reason. It does not undo the actual, physical rape.

#10
Sanam
May 21, 2007
10:59 PM

Sanjay,

You and I are on a different page here. For me if Shilpa herself does not think her modesty was outraged, I think it is fine. you seem to be more affected than shilpa herself.

So I would let you enjoy your opinion and let me take rest in mine. We can never agree.

#11
Shaan Khan
URL
May 22, 2007
12:30 AM

Sanjay:

I saw the Shilpa-Gere episode on Youtube and to me it appeared as if Gere was just being playful. I agree that you have some very valid points. Nonetheless, in the absence of any complaint from Shilpa, there is no case.

#12
Die Hard
May 22, 2007
01:37 AM

Is Karen Johar really NOT gay? He looks and acts so gay? May be he is bi?!

#13
Sakshi
URL
May 22, 2007
02:39 AM

Amrita : Repeat on Sunday @ 6.00 pm. And watch it for Richard...and NOT Kjo. :)

Sanjay : Reading your comments makes it only understandable as to why we have so many "screwed up" politicians in this country. Sad!

#14
Sanjay Garg
URL
May 22, 2007
05:58 AM

Sanam: It is okay to disagree without getting personal. Why don't we try that? both of us can play that game but I don't believe we want to go there.

As far as being "affected", this reminds me of the Draupadai "vastraharan" episode. Some guy physically molests Shilpa in a public forum and 2000 Indians sit around watching it and did nothing. The only difference is that Draupadi actually cried out for help.

Sakshi: Kindly do not evade the key point. I do not see what this has to do with the so-called "screwed up" politicians in India. This is a red herring. There is no doubt in my mind that, were Shilpa to press charges, any court in India or in the U.S. would convict Gere for molestation.

#15
Sanjay Garg
URL
May 22, 2007
06:15 AM

Shaan Khan: Glad you see my point. However, I'm not so sure Gere was being playful. I think he was perhaps in a bad mood; someone commented that he may have been drunk. In the Youtube video, Shilpa practially had to drag him on stage and, just before Gere started with Shilpa's hand, he appeared to be bossing Emraan Hashmi around in a rather demeaning manner.

#16
Sakshi
URL
May 22, 2007
06:18 AM

Sanjay : Okay, now I get it. You are ticked off cause Emran didnot get to kiss Shilpa instead. ;)

#17
Jawahara
URL
May 22, 2007
06:48 AM

OMG, I go away for a week and we're back with THE KISS again :-).
Frankly, I find this male outrage paternalistic and condescending.
"*I* will decide if you were molested/raped/groped, etc. No, no, I am not going to listen to you saying you were no molested/raped/groped. What do you know? You're such a shrinking violet, voiceless, powerless creature, Shilpa.I know better than you little girl. There, go sit in the corner. Don't you know you don't own your own body. I do...errrr...all us Bharatiya men do." *pats her on the head*

#18
Shaan Khan
URL
May 22, 2007
09:02 AM

Sanjay:

See the promos for K Jo and tell me if you also think that Gere was bossing around ? Again to me it seems that Gere was going out of his way to be, as I said in my previous post, playful.

He could have been distant and aloof. Certainly one is used to seeing stars even of less caliber and less international standing very arrogant. But he chose to be funny and engaging.

I saw no ill. He was just trying to be (perhaps a little too much) friendly.

#19
SidDes
May 22, 2007
11:39 AM

This article is pure conjecture. Frankly, I dont think it should even be on Desicritics.

#20
Amrita
URL
May 22, 2007
01:05 PM

J - thank you! that's what I've been trying to say but wasn't able to formulate properly!

#21
Sanjay Garg
May 22, 2007
02:38 PM

Sakshi: Okay, now I get it. You are ticked off cause Emran didnot get to kiss Shilpa instead

This is not about kissing, but about sexual assault. Don't know about you but I wouldn't want to wish the latter on anyone. Clearly, you still don't get anything.

#22
Shaan Khan
URL
May 22, 2007
06:42 PM

YKM

Gere is an International star. He has an enviable carrer. He is respected around the world (not just India) for what he has achieved and for his humanitarian stands. True he not 30 years old anymore. Nonetheless when you say that he is a nobody you reveal your knoweledge.

Regarding Indian stars, yes some do get recognition overseas. Recently a UK institute unveiled SRK's wax statue.

#23
Sanjay Garg
URL
May 22, 2007
07:33 PM

Jawahara: You're framing this from the perspective of taking agency away from Shilpa. This is fine except you are going to an extreme and blindly giving away the entire store - lock, stock and barrel. Shilpa's agency is that she can deny everything until she is blue in the face. No one is taking that from her.

The fact is that there are millions who witnessed the debacle on TV with their own eyes and they too have agency. You cannot tell these people "Believe Shilpa, not what you have seen with your own eyes, nor the inference you draw from it". These people know that there is absolutely no way Shilpa could have given prior consent to being grabbed on stage, in public, at an AIDs function. No one is that stupid.

#24
Sanam
May 22, 2007
11:45 PM

Sanjay Garg and the rest of moral police.

Who are you guys to feel offended? If shilpa feels molested she willask for help. She is an adult and she has family members who are adult,If they need help they will ask. Till then can you please help women who have asked for help?

#25
Sanjay Garg
May 23, 2007
08:55 AM

Sanam: Kindly do not tell people how not to feel. Just make your case the best you can and avoid labeling people. It's a dead giveaway that you've perhaps run out of ideas.

#26
Shaan Khan
URL
May 23, 2007
10:20 AM

Sanjay:

In the absence of any statement on this issue from Shilpa you have a right to explore and extrapolate. But given the fact that Shilpa has already made her position known, and given the fact that her position is diametrically opposite, you are beating a dead horse. Allow me to repeat something I heard while watching a Desi game show on youtube, " Jub Mian Biwi Raazi, Ko Kya Karen Ga Kazi"





#27
Sanjay Garg
URL
May 23, 2007
07:46 PM

Shaan Khan: You've not addressed any of the main issues I raised. Until you do that, we're talking about two very different things.

#28
Shaan Khan
URL
May 23, 2007
08:11 PM

Sanjay:

From my perspective, what Gere did is very common and not alarm worthy. At times I have been similarly playful and on some other occasions have been showered with such friendly affection from women friends too. I do not mistake it for lust etc. Gere was just horsing around.

I do understand that in many cultures a Man touching or kissing a Women in Public is taboo. God forbid if the man is handsome. Trust me I know all about that. Keeping that point of view in mind, I do understand where you are comming from. I understand, but do not subscribe.

#29
Sanjay Garg
URL
May 23, 2007
08:32 PM

Shaan Khan: Thanks again for avoiding all the substantive issues I've raised.

#30
Shanti
May 25, 2007
11:38 PM

Don't you know Sanam is a feminist, his dad is a feminist, her whole mandli is a feminist, and they are a brand of FEMINIST who are working for welfare bored housewifes and procuring husbands for themselves.

#31
seema
May 25, 2007
11:46 PM

shanti have you lost your marbles?

#32
Shanti
May 25, 2007
11:49 PM

Oh one more FEMINIST popping up. I had loat Sheila and Tequila.

#33
Shanti
May 25, 2007
11:50 PM

Seema, is your dad a FEMINIST.

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