B’day Special: The Importance Of Being Sunny Leone

I like Sunny Leone. She is sharp and quick on the uptake,gives honest non-hypocritical answers and doesn’t shy away from talking about her past…Or so I have experienced. But now one hears she is devastated because she was grilled about her porn days during a television interview.

Sorry, that’s not the Sunny I know.I know the softspoken Sunny and her very courteous husband Daniel Weber from the time they arrived in Bollywood . I hadn’t seen her films before that. And I’ve never been curious or voyeuristic enough to click into her dark pre-Bollywood  phase when I believe both Sunny and her husband were adult-content actors.

I am sure she had her reasons for doing what she did. And now a very fine documentary on her life before and after Bollywood , picturesquely entitled Mostly Sunny Partly Cloudy has her talking very frankly, realistically, and practically about her life as a porn star(okay, adult-content actress, if that makes the perpendicular-into-the-horizontal  vocation less squirmy). In the fine documentary there is no embarrassment or apology in Sunny’s tone even when she discusses how she broke the news to her conservative Punjabi parents what she did  to earn her living(hint: it rhymes with bucks).

Dilip Mehta(who incidentally is my dear friend Deepa Mehta’s brother) and I have discussed Sunny’s attitude to her past and he said, “Most of us tend to carry baggage from our past that we somehow want to shed. Sunnyon the other hand appears to be amongst a handful of people who seemingly has no regret of her life journey. She is non-evasive of her past avatar as an Adult Entertainer and of the choices that made her a hugely successful part of a multi-billion dollar industry.And it’s not as though I’m sharing a previously untold secret with you .Almost unfailingly in all the interviews to Indian and international media she doesn’t shy away from her previous career choices, although she does firmly reiterate that the past is the past.”

Sunny herself has never hesitated in discussing her past with me.Not that we go on and on about it. But she is not the least apologetic about it.

In one of her interviews with me Sunny said, “If it wasn’t for my past I would not be who I am. I am not ashamed of it because it has brought me here to India. If I came here as regular me with no entertainment experience then I would not be as popular as I am today with the public.

So my point is, why are we getting so hyper-righteous about a television journalist raking up her past when the spunky Sunny is not the least apologetic about it? Suddenly from complete non-acceptance of her past we are moving to a point where were are dangerously close to endorsing  the porn trade.

Sunny’s triumph is complete, though. From smirks and sniggers she is now seen as portrait of courage and grace under pressure.Aamir Khan, himself under fire, says he would like to work with her. Very soon  we may reach a stage where anyone who hesitates in working with her would be labelled misogynistic , if not anti-national.

This is the Indian appetite for melodrama. Jo karo jamm ke karo.Paap karo to khul ke, Porn karo toh seenathok ke.

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