Always a delicate question for anthropologists (and what's gossip but a branch of that young science?): Where to draw the line between respecting other cultures and concluding that some of their customs are just a little too much?

Richard Gere was probably thinking "too much!" yesterday when Judge Dinesh Gupta from the Indian city of Jaipur issued arrest warrants for the Hollywood legend and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty for their widely publicized transgression: that they didst, in full possession of their senses, kiss each other on (closed) lips at a public event.

The judge acted on a complaint filed by a no-doubt upstanding and sinless citizen who called Gere and Shetty's public display of affection "an obscene act."

Gere faces three months in prison if convicted. No statement yet from Gere, who is a Buddhist, a religion founded in India.

Sanjaya reveals his secret

Sanjaya fever continues apace: In an interview with People about his tremendous sex appeal,

Sanjaya Malakar

says, "I've always gotten along with girls better because I was raised by women."

The perplexingly popular pop phenom says because he grew up with his ma and sis, Shyamali (the dad split when the singer was 3), he gets girls and has an immediate in with them.

But genius - of the scientific or the girl-ific kind - has its price: "I got teased in school because people figured I must be gay because I understand women."

The mom: Ms. Ganja-ya?

The National Enquirer has uncovered a dark - yet mellow, groovy and sexy - fact about

Sanjaya

's past: Sister

Shyamali

was busted in '05 in Pierce County, Wash., after cops found her guarding a veritable forest of pot plants (

310

, to be exact) in the Malakar family garage.

Sis led authorities to a nearby pot-growing facility, where the singer's mom, Jillian Blith, and stepdad, Charles Quist, were picked up. Blith was lucky: She could have earned up to five years in prison, but got off with a 30-day sentence.

Mel's next creation

Looks as if film fabulist

Mel

"potty mouth"

Gibson

's next epochally cosmogonical epic will be about

Vasco Núñez de Balboa

, TMZ.com reports. Born poor, the Spanish conquistador established the first permanent European settlement on the mainland of the Americas in 1510 in present-day Panama. There are even rumors Mel's looking to buy a home in Costa Rica, where he's filming the project.

Joe, show us your brain!

Joe

"Girls Gone Wild"

Francis

(that dude who trolls beaches jamming a video camera into college girls' cleavage) was charged yesterday with misdemeanor sexual battery for allegedly fondling an 18-year-old girl at an L.A. party in January, even though she kept telling Joe to stop.

Joe's a class act: Two days earlier, the soft-core porn prince began serving a 35-day stint in jail for contempt of court for shouting filth at seven women at a meeting to settle a lawsuit claiming Joe filmed the women in sexual situations when they were underage.

Earlier, the feds announced on April 11, Joe was charged for tax evasion. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.

And another: A day after those charges, Joe was charged with bribing a public servant and was also slapped with various drug charges. He faces up to five years in prison on those counts.

Joe's been scheduled for a May 22 hearing for the sex incident.

Dogg day afternoon

Immigration officials in Australia have denied

Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr.

(a.k.a.

Snoop Dogg

) entry to the land down under because he flunked the country's character test, thanks to his extensive and highly decorated rap sheet. Mr. Dogg was due in the country for a job as cohost of Sunday's MTV Australia Video Music Awards.

"He doesn't seem the sort of bloke we want in this country," Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews told Sydney's Macquarie Radio.

Mr. Dogg and his legal team have 28 days to appeal.

Shameless shilling

Michael Bay

's

Transformers

opens July 4. A month earlier, on June 2, Hasbro will introduce a line of transformational toys that feature many of the pieces that'll be shown in the movie. And starting

today!

, USA Today says, you can check out the new transformer on

.

Bracco's girl and A.J.?

Lorraine Bracco

tells the New York Daily News that

Stella

, the daughter she had with

Harvey Keitel

(radical), is "just friends" with Bracco's

Sopranos

costar

Robert Iler

, who plays A.J. Soprano. Rumors say there's much heat between them.

Regis, rex

"Re-gis! Re-gis!" the studio audience shouted yesterday when

Rege Philbin

returned triumphant to

Live With Regis and Kelly

six weeks ("six weeks and one day,"

Kelly Ripa

corrected Rege) after undergoing heart-bypass surgery.

"It seemed like six years and 15 days, for me," Rege quipped.

White Stripes tour

Assaying their first tour since fall '05, acclaimed back-to-basics rock act

The White Stripes

will land at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington on July 27. Tix go on sale May 5 at 10 a.m. Info: at 302-652-5577, 800-374-7263 or

.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com. This column contains information from Inquirer wire services.