SRK and Sanjay Dutt after the slapping incident Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: When Shah Rukh Khan slapped filmmaker Shirish Kunder at a party last Sunday, we were shocked no doubt, but we were also reminded of the unique pride of place a slap enjoys in the Indian film industry.

The slap, or the ‘thappad' as it's known in Hindi, is a classic staple. Conjure any complicated movie scene — heroine rebelling against parents, hero caught in conflict with baddies — and you bet most of them will invariably end with a resounding thwack. Gali Gali Chor Hai which premiered in Dubai on Wednesday has a slap scene in the climax.

Why, even the best punch lines (pun intended) revolve around them. From Dr Dang's (Anupam Kher) "Is thappad ki goonj (the echoes of this slap)" in Karma (1986) to Rajjo's (Sonakshi Sinha) "Thappad se dar nahi lagta hai sahib (A slap does not scare me, Sir)" in Dabangg (2010), Bollywood's fascination with slaps continues. Sure enough when the thin line between reel and real disappears, stars take things into their own hands. No fisticuffs, no brawls - just the old-fashioned smack in the face. Not that anybody approves of it, (except Ameesha who once slapped her chauffeur) but Shah Rukh Khan certainly is not the only actor who has slapped someone from the film fraternity.

The demure Nutan slapped Sanjeev Kumar for making a pass at her and acclaimed director Kidar Sharma once slapped Raj Kapoor for not doing his job properly.

Raj Kapoor got his chance against arch-rival Dilip Kumar when he was cast with him in Andaz (1949) with Nargis playing their common love interest. In one of the scenes, Kapoor was supposed to slap Kumar. He lands a heavy slap across Kumar's face. Not content he whacks him with a tennis racket in another scene. Kumar got so angry he threatened to walk out of the movie and producer Mehboob Khan had to beg him to complete the film.

Govinda slapped a fan on the sets of Money Hai To Honey Hai before dishing out the same treatment to director Neeraj Vohra. Sunny Deol is famous for his two and a half kilo legendary hamfists, but mercifully he never got to use them against a fellow actor. But no such restraint for sister Esha Deol who slapped Amrita Arora on the sets of Pyare Mohan after the latter abused her in front of crew members.

Abhishek Bachchan has been on the receiving end too. He got slapped by a lady in a cinema hall. "Stop. You're embarrassing your family and ruining your father's name," she shouted at Bachchan Jr as she attacked him. "It wasn't the slap that hurt, but the words," Abhishek said later.

Did you know?

Katrina Kaif slapped Imran Khan 17 times as it took that many retakes to get the perfect shot for a scene in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, but that's still 10 short of the 27 slaps Rajesh Khanna landed on Daisy Irani for a scene in Kati Patang.