Shilpa Shetty still suffers because of Gere's kiss

Shilpa Shetty is a kind of women who doesn’t dream about Richard Gere’s kissing.

Immigration officials at Mumbai airport briefly detained Shetty, refusing to let her out the country, saying she was still wanted for obscenity charges filed in the wake of the public kiss, her publicist Dale Bhagwagar said Thursday.

Shetty was in tears late Wednesday after being stopped at the airport while on her way to Berlin where the musical "Miss Bollywood" opens this weekend, said Bhagwagar. Shetty plays the musical's lead role.

In April Gere publicly kissed shetty at an AIDS awareness event in India, sparking an outcry among conservative hardline Hindus, who claimed they had violated the country's strict anti-obscenity laws.

A regional court issued arrest warrants against Gere and barred Shetty from leaving the country. The order was soon overturned by the Supreme Court.

But the Supreme Court ruling did not show up in the immigration department computer system, Bhagwagar said.

"She called me in the middle of the night and was in tears," said Bhagwagar, adding Shetty was finally permitted to join her dance troupe after prolonged questioning.

"I can understand something like this if I'd committed a criminal offense. But what was my offense, when I'm just an actor, going to perform a musical on foreign land," Bhagwagar quoted Shetty saying.

Immigration officials at Mumbai's international airport could not be reached for comment, but Bhagwagar said Shetty's lawyers would take up the matter with authorities.

Shortly after the brouhaha erupted, Gere, 57, apologized for any offense he may have caused. But he also said the whole controversy was manufactured by a small hard-line political party.

Gere is a frequent visitor to India, promoting health issues and the cause of Tibetan exiles, tens of thousands of whom live in India.

Shetty, a well-known actress in India, became an international star after her appearance on the British reality show "Celebrity Big Brother."

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Author`s name Angela Antonova