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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Actress 'slapped' for refusing to kiss
By Omer Farooq
BBC correspondent in Hyderabad

An Indian movie star has been charged with assaulting an actress who refused to kiss his son in a film scene.

Mohan Babu, a leading southern Indian film actor and former member of parliament, has been also booked for "wrongful confinement" and intimidation.

Indian film shoot
Kissing on screen is still a taboo in India...
The police said the incident took place at a studio in the southern city of Hyderabad on Tuesday evening during the filming of a Telugu-language film, Vishnu.

The film is being produced by Mohan Babu to launch his son Vishnu's movie career.


The actress, Shilpa Shivanand, says that Mohan Babu became angry with her when she did not take part in a song sequence which involved her kissing Vishnu.

Shilpa said that when she refused to do the scene again, an enraged Mohan Babu slapped her.

Mallika Shekhwat and Himanshu Malik
...but recent films are pushing the boundaries
When her mother Parveen Sivanand tried to intervene, she was also allegedly beaten up.

Following the assault, the actress says Mohan Babu followed them in to the make-up room and intimidated them, threatening them with legal action if she did not complete the filming.

Shilpa called her sister, who was in Bombay, who in turn contacted the Hyderabad police.

But when the police reached the studios it was empty.

The police traced the actress and her mother to a hotel in the city and recorded their statement there.

Later the actress along with her mother left for Bombay.

Mohan Babu has been unavailable for comment.

Kiss taboo

This is not the first time that the actor finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Mohan Babu, who started his film career playing villains, has figured in several other cases of assaults and violation of laws in the past.

Kissing scenes are still taboo in Indian films, with few actresses willing to commit to one on the screen.

That trend is however changing, with a rash of new films exploring bolder, more sexually explicit themes.

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