The Taming of the Smooch. Though India’s Central Board of Film Certification is up in arms over a steamy kiss featured in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram-Leela — the director’s been asked to slice the lip-lock by “50 percent,” whatever that means — columnist Ravina Rawal doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. Don’t miss her essay, chronicling Bollywood’s tenuous relationship with The Kiss, crammed with acerbic sentences like this one: “At best, our awkward actors look like they’re trying to delicately spit out a watermelon seed; at worst, it looks like statutory rape.” [First Post]
Lions and Tigers and Brides! Oh, My! A NYC-based tour agency now offers front-row access to Indian weddings, according to Adam Graham of The New York Times, who sherwanied up and crashed one in Udaipur recently. “Don’t miss the kanyadaan, when the groom promises to the bride’s parents to be just (dharma), to support her (artha) and love her (karma),” Graham describes. While we’re all for glimpsing into cultural windows, this safari-like approach smells suspiciously colonial. [The New York Times]
An Unfortunate Analogy. Ranjit Sinha, head honcho at India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, compared the government’s inability to stop illegal gambling to “enjoying rape” (how are these two things even remotely alike?) on Tuesday, triggering a host of angry reactions from activists who are calling for his resignation. Sinha joins the ranks of other bold-faced names guilty of tossing the R-word around, including author Chetan Bhagat, who faced criticism for utilizing a rape reference to describe the plummeting rupee in August. [Huffington Post]
Hindustani Funk. Everyone’s favorite classical Indian clarinetist, Shankar Tucker (who can forget his haunting “O Re Piya/Rolling in the Deep” mash-up?) performs at NYC’s Webster Hall this Friday. The 25-year-old musician, who rose to fame courtesy of TheShrutiBox, a YouTube channel with a series of soulful hits, has shared stage space with heavyweights including Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia. [Ticket Web]
Aarti Virani is an arts and culture writer based in Hoboken, New Jersey. She has written for publications including Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @aartivirani.