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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December 2004, 20:34 GMT
Bollywood star in kiss dispute
Kareena Kapoor
The kissing row has sparked a public debate in India
An Indian Bollywood film star has begun legal proceedings against a tabloid newspaper that published photos of her passionately kissing her co-star.

Kareena Kapoor - one of Bollywood's most famous actors - is seeking an unconditional apology from the paper.

She and her co-star Shahid Kapoor say the photos were doctored, and were not of them.

The poor-quality photographs appeared to suggest that the two stars were kissing intimately in a restaurant.

Tampering denied

The BBC's Zubair Ahmed says that the photographs and film clip of the two actors - who are not related - were apparently taken by someone with a video-enabled mobile phone.

On Thursday, some news channels ran the entire clip.

Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor on the set of the film Fida
In India kissing in public is frowned upon

But our correspondent says that Kareena and Shahid cried foul and asked the paper, Mid Day, to tender an unconditional apology.

Kareena said she had already begun legal proceedings against the paper.

But the newspaper editor, Akar Patel, denied the images were tampered with, and claimed the photos and video clip were genuine.

'Unacceptable intimacy'

Thursday's edition explained how the pictures were taken in a restaurant.

Amitabh Bachchan
If you allow yourself to be photographed, that's no fault of the media
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan

Our correspondent says that whereas such behaviour might pass unremarked in Western society, such public displays of intimacy are not usually thought acceptable in India.

The pictures have sparked a colourful debate in the film world, and opinion seems to vary.

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan said he had not seen the pictures but added that if people allowed themselves to be photographed then the media should not be blamed for publishing the results.

Director Karan Johar said he believed the publication was is in bad taste as the papers are seen by young children as well.

Mid Day has so far refused to apologise.

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