With Dilip Mehta’s documentary on Sunny Leone being acquired by Netflix and with Indian distributors showing a keen interest in the film , Mostly Sunny is all set for an Indian release in spite of Sunny and her husband Daniel Weber completely disowning the work .
Dilip who spent more than four years of his life researching and shooting the documentary still doesn’t know what made Leone do her volte face. “Believe me , she was the portrait of co-operation support and participation all through the making of the film. I had told her I won’t do a chamcha bio-pic on her. I don’t do star PR films. She promised she would open every chapter of her life without inhibition or apology.And to her credit, she did exactly that. She spoke fearlessly and unapologetically about her past as a porn star. Then something happened.”
That “something”, according to Dilip, was the Babydoll dance track.
Recalls Dilip, “I saw a sudden shift in Sunny and her husband’s attitude after Babydoll. Suddenly they were no longer interested in sharing her life with me.Suddenly I was the outsider trying to barge in. You see when her film Jackpot tanked the couple got down to the impossible task of erasing her past as a porn star.Now they were wondering how to get rid of this intruder named Dilip Mehta who was making a film about her life and the rather unorthodox past.”
Fortunately for Dilip by this time he had already conducted all his interviews with Sunny and her husband. “I no longer needed them to finish my documentary. But I was saddened and shocked by their attitudinal shift. Earlier she spoke of the documentary as being her true story, warts and all. Suddenly I was pressurized to delete her nude scenes. Excuse me. My film is not about Sunny’s nudity. There are a few stray shots of her breasts. And I was not willing to touch them. In my films the director’s cut is always final.Now she says no one can tell her story except she. Does that mean she is going to turn into a filmmaker next?”
Dilip wonders why a section of the Indian media is helping Sunny with her game-plan of selective amnesia. “She thinks she can wipe out her past with her manager-husband’s help. Tragically a section of the Indian press is doing exactly what she asks.Sunny and Daniel are writing a new script as her life-story, and feeding it into the press.According to this version of her life story she was never a porn star, her parents family and relatives never suffered any embarrassment at her chosen career and she is actually a role model for young girls. Any journalist who dares to now bring up her porn past is branded a sexist/misogynist . Look at what happened to that poor journalist from CNN-IBN who ‘dared’ to ask Sunny about her past.”
The documentary suggests that Sunny Leone’s mother died because of her daughter’s chosen profession.
Says Dilip, “Yes, but her parents never put their foot down. She was only 19 when they discovered their daughter was a porn star.They could’ve stopped her.But she brought in a 100,000 dollars for posing nude for Penthouse. A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!! Can you imagine what that kind money meant back then in the 17-18 years ago to a middle class Punjabi-Canadian family? The brother too sold her pictures and made money.”
At one point in the documentary Sunny is heard saying she may have been disowned by her hometown but now all Indians want her in their homes.
Laughs Dilip, “This is the image she and her husband are working on creating in India. As if she was never a part of the porn industry. The frightening part of their marketing strategy is that it is working for a section of strugglers. In my documentary you see three dancers in Bollywood who are unwilling to sleep with producers to get work. In the same breath they say they are willing to do ‘anything’ to be like Sunny Leone. This is the dichotomy of being Sunny Leone that is being propagated. You can wipe out an entire segment of your life and pretend the porn never happened. But Sunny Leone can’t get me to comply in her deceit. She can’t play footsie with me.”
Dilip now intends to release Mostly Sunny in India. “Netflix and ITune have already acquired it.The response in the West is tremendous.I want to dub it in Hindi and release it in India. My only fear is , what will the Indian censor board do with it?”