Bollywood loves kissing. From coy to bold and zany to outright bizarre, Hindi cinema is filled with songs that celebrate putting that mouth to good use. It could be a simple peck on the cheek or the more forthright locking of lips – the allusions come in all shapes and forms.
Kisses have, over the years, even been attributed with an array of superpowers. Sample Chavanprash from Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and being released on June 1. In the song, Arjun Kapoor is seen gyrating with Anushka and Shibani Dandekar, and the lyrics elevate a kiss to an Ayurvedic energy booster. We are given to believe that it’s not exercise, a healthy diet or a strong constitution but a regular supply of kisses that are responsible for Arjun Kapoor’s strength.
“Tere chumme me Chavanprash hai,” sings Divya Kumar to Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics. “Vitamin jaisa har andaaz hai” (Your kisses have Chavanprash. Every dose is like a vitamin).
In Zeher He Ke Pyaar Hai from Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995), a kiss has the opposite effect. Instead of vitamins, it is attributed with deadly powers as Akshay Kumar wonders, “Zeher he ke pyaar hai tera chumma” – is your kiss poison, or is it love. Betrayed by his lover, Mamta Kulkarni, Kumar lets out his rage by channelling his inner Michael Jackson through pelvic thrusts galore. Biblical references are woven in for good measure through the use of apples and snakes.
Even though Bollywood has until recently been circumspect about depicting kisses on screen, snogging songs have frequently made their way into movies. In the fantasy tale Pataal Bhairavi (1985), a remake of the 1951 Telugu film Patala Bhairavi, Dimple Kapadia works hard to seduce a stoic Jeetendra in Chumma Chumma. She gets right to the point: “Chumma chumma chumma chumma, mujhko banale priyatama,” she sings, going on to declare that she will die if he does not make her his darling. Despite her best efforts, Jeetendra seems thoroughly unimpressed.
Perhaps the most famous example of a Bollywood song dedicated to a kiss is Jumma Chumma De De from Hum (1991). The song centres on the promise of a kiss from a woman named Jumma and on a Friday (Jumma).
The hit number features Tiger (Amitabh Bachchan) urging Kimi Katkar’s Jumma to fulfill her promise made on the previous Friday. Katkar wants to know what she’ll get in exchange for the kiss. She looks mighty pleased as Bachchan pleads with her to kiss him, as the crowd sings along in support, but tells him: “Maine badal diya iraada” – I’ve changed my mind. Even as he suggestively hoses her down with a pipe, she seems unrelenting.
Friday is the night for kisses even in the more recent Jumme Ki Raat Hai from Salman Khan-starrer Kick (2014). Here too, Khan is pursuing his objet de désir (Jacqueline Fernandez) for a kiss, but she seems less than pleased by the attention – that is, until she gulps down a few glasses of wine. Then, the reticence come off, the oomph comes on and acrobatics follow on the dance floor.
In Choom Loon Honth Tere from Shreemaan Aashique (1992), the protagonist strikes a more earnest note. As Rishi Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar canoodle in a park, he showers praises on her, telling her of his desire to kiss her. Matondkar blushes at the compliments, but is too shy to fulfill his wish, making him contend at first with a peck on her hand.
In Phenk Hawa Mein Ek Chumma from Ram Jaane (1995), the musical score is generously interspersed with kissing sounds, while computer-generated lips make regular appearances on the screen. Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla take their shenanigans to the beach, telling each other: “Phenk hawa mein ek chumma, mein catch karloon. Ishq kiya hai, ishq mein thodi ash karloon.” Both caution and kisses are thrown to the wind.
A kiss comes with a geography lesson in Ek Chumma Toh Mujhko Udhaar Dede from Chhote Sarkar (1996). “Ek chumma toh mujhko udhaar dede...aur badle mein UP Bihar lele”, Govinda pleads with Shilpa Shetty, trying to barter a kiss with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He ups the ante, throwing Delhi, Punjab, Assam, Mumbai, Gujarat and West Bengal into the mix. The video shows him chasing her around, smacking her on the bum and harassing her in an array of ways.
Kisses have high land value even in Govinda’s Tune Jo Liya Mera Chumma from Beti No. 1 (2000). “Tune jo liya mera chumma to Patna mein aag lag gayi,” he says, to which Rambha responds, “Tune jo ankhiyaan milaayin toh Dilli ki neend ud gayi.” The couple tours India through several other euphemisms over the course of the song.
A more realistic assessment is offered in Labon Ko Labon Pe from Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) as Shiney Ahuja and Vidya Balan engage in elaborate fore-foreplay as he pursues her for a kiss and more.
Lip to Lip De Kissiyan from Katti Batti (2016) takes a more direct route to seduction. “French kiss firangi hai, desi kiss hi changi hai,” sing Imran Khan and Kangana Ranaut. Kisses are apparently more intoxicating than whisky, and their deprivation cause withdrawal symptoms. “Kissi bina guzre na raate, Kissi bina beete na din, jee lunga main tere bina, Nahi jeena teri kissi ke bin,” Khan sings, telling Ranaut that he can live without her, but not her kisses.
The round is won by French kisses in Labon Ka Karobaar from Befikre (2017), a montage of smooches around Paris. Some serious tongue work ensues as people of all ages, shapes, colours and gender let their lips do the talking.