Chit Chat

Adult films have taken me where I am today: Sunny Leone

Curiosities run amuck with just a mention of former adult movie star Sunny Leone. But once you meet her, you realise that beneath the sizzling aura, lives a woman next door, with simple aspirations and dreams in life. Before we settle down for an exclusive interview with Sunny on her visit to Nagpur on Tuesday, the only request made by her associates is to not to ask any questions about her past profession – adult movies – as she’s moved on. But, once she inadvertently finds herself in a conversation with us about her past profession and current life, Sunny help us deconstruct the enigma around her in quite a nonchalant manner. Here’s Sunny Leone unleashed for you…

Your entry was banned at an Indore mall by a right wing outfit. Do you feel unsafe with these kinds of protests?
Of course, it scares me great deal. It’s sad that some people need to resort to violence to get their point across. I don’t expect this from this country at all. It’s disappointing. But, what can you do? We had to take it seriously and we called off our visit to Indore as I’m concerned about the security of my associates. More than anything else, it’s about the security of the citizens of the said city. If any violence erupts, it affects the local people the most. I’m not bothered about my safety as I am given a lot of security, but it’s about other people. I wonder why some people would trash their own city and hurt their own people, just to make a point. It’s a shame.

So, are you being a brave heart of sorts as even after the threat you got from Indore, you visited Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, and now you’re going to Bhopal. You’ve not stopped your small cities’ tour…
Why should I stop if somebody is trying to bring me down? I feel people at large want to see me. I think we should go on doing our work. I just want to tell those who threatened me not to worry, pals! It’s just a movie. Watch it, enjoy it and relax. Come on! Just put it all in perspective. It’s just fiction; it’s not happening in reality. It shouldn’t be taken that seriously.

What kind of response you’re getting from small cities? Do you find people here orthodox?
I believe it’s everybody’s right to hold on to their culture, their ideology and the way they have been brought up. But, I must say that the kind of response I am getting is phenomenal. It’s very positive. People are open to let me in their cities and their hearts. Baby Doll wouldn’t have been number one, if I was unacceptable to people.

You are not doing adult films any more. Why have you abandoned your domain that gave you humongous success?
When I stopped doing adult films, I was at the top of my game. I had already reached such a height that I wanted no more to build on. The accolades, awards, money – I had everything happening for me. That’s how we got into a different direction with a production company of my husband and mine, which also was doing great. I had achieved everything in that part of the world. As a personal choice, I wanted to move forward and I realised Bollywood was the logical progression as it’s quite multidimensional. Bollywood is what’s on my mind now. This is my dream come true as I always wanted to work in films. So, you’re watching Sunny Leone grow up further as an entertainer through films.

You’ve successfully pitched yourself as a brand ambassador for some indulgent products that thrive on sexual attraction i.e. liquor, condoms, energy drinks, adult entertainment websites etc. but household products are yet to come by…
I definitely think it’s going to take some more time for a huge mainstream brand to see me in a different way. And I think after each movie release of mine, I am inching closer to that as movies showcase not only the talent of actors and actresses but also reflect who they are. The brand endorsements and movies go hand in hand and I think my proximity to a brand will depend on the kind of movies and roles I do. I am happy with what I have done till date; I’ve done some great ads. So, far as the condom ad goes, I feel people should have safe sex. It’s silly to think that young adults are not having premarital or promiscuous relationships. If we propagate condoms, we can save people from troubles like STDs and unwanted pregnancies. So, I am happy that my advertisement makes sense and it’s good that I’m also getting to spread a social message across. Having said so, I would definitely like to do those household products as well but I know that will take a little while.

In any film you sign, you become the mainstay of the film. It must be a producers’ delight as they get the talking point, but do your co-stars get uncomfortable with you hogging all the limelight?
Yeah, some actors have said that, albeit not personally to me. But, I am aware that this talk does the rounds. I think it’s silly. I don’t harbour grudges. As long as I am doing films, I am fine. That’s all that matters to me.

While you refused going topless for the shower scene in Ragini MMS 2, you’ve faked orgasm in a scene and have a lip lock with Sandhya Mridul. What methodology do you follow to arrive at your choice of scenes?
First of all, posing topless is not legal in this country. So, when you say topless, I have no idea what people are talking about. I guess if I had done a topless scene, I would have been shifted back to the US in a jiffy. And that’s how it would have ended. I have shown my bare back in that shower scene. In Baby Doll, there is scene with me in the bathtub. I would never refuse to do scenes that take the story forward. So, to answer your question, I decide upon the scenes on the basis of how the story flows. The two scenes you mentioned help the story move forward. People will find that there is a reason why a lip lock or a fake orgasm scene has been put up.

Have you ever faced possessiveness issues with your husband Daniel Weber because of your work?
Not really. We usually have a nice conversation about what exactly is going on. What the boundaries are on his mind and my mind. We are a normal couple that has conversations; we don’t argue about anything. We both are in the business of entertainment; hence there is a level of professionalism that one needs to uphold. If you have an onscreen kiss with another actor, you need to see it as work. Of course, when you are doing it, you’ve to emote that, but as soon as director calls cut, there is no emotion there because it’s strictly professional. Daniel and I work as a team and we ensure that a lot of communication takes place between us.

Certain observers of yours find you having an orientation of a housewife? Do you see it as contradictory to your profession?
(Laughs) Yeah, I’ve come across these observations made by people close to me. One of my friends told me a few years ago, ‘Sunny, when I didn’t know you personally, I created an image of yours in my mind, but now that I know you personally, that image is no more there as now I can’t objectify you.’ That happens to a lot of people I meet including women. That switchover happens as they get to know me better.

Does it feel better when somebody stops objectifying you?
You know if it’s about my fans, it’s fine if they relate me with my work. But, it does feel good when people who work with me or who befriend me or even journalists like you who have conversations with me stop assuming things about me. It feels good when they stop perceiving me in a particular manner and say, ‘oh she’s normal!’

What would you enjoy more – a sex goddess image or a housewife image?
Well, for entertainment industry, definitely the sexy image, but for my family and friends, the housewife image would work fine with me.

There are reports of an undergraduate student of The Duke University in the US indulging in pornography on the pretext of fending for her education. What is your take on it?
Obviously, she can’t use this excuse that she’s doing it only to fund her education. There is probably something in her that enjoys all this; otherwise, why would she do that? In this industry, nobody forces anybody to do anything. Everything is done on videotapes; even questions like have you been forced or have you been drugged are also asked before you get into work there. You are tested properly. So many things are done in that world to ensure that one is not exploited. Even if she’s funding her education with the money she’s earning from adult films, what’s the big deal? If she doesn’t pay it now, she will have to pay back education loans later, so, it’s her choice. She’s not doing anything illegal there.

Pornography is consumed heavily, but still we seem to be quite apologetic about it…
Well, I’m not apologetic or ashamed about anything that I’ve done in my past. It was a stepping stone to get me where I am today. I think if people want to watch adult movies, let them make their own choice. We always take pride in the fact that India’s an independent country with freethinking and free living people. But then, it all depends on the state as to how does it wishes to govern its people. I don’t want to upset anybody with my opinion.

People find you quite enigmatic and it breeds curiosity. How do you deal with that?
Most people are shy when they meet celebrities, so they are primarily interested in clicking selfies with you rather than asking any questions. Or at times, they would come up with one-line compliments like I loved that film etc. That’s all I get to hear from my fans. But, most of the time, journalists try and satiate their curiosity; I am sure to clear the air! (laughs)

If you were to define who Sunny is…
I am definitely not who you think I am. My job is just my job. My profession is absolutely separate from my personal life. The person on screen is somebody else. It’s a character created to entertain you and it’s not me at all. I am just a hard working woman, and I promise you, I’ll change your mind about who I am, if you give me five minutes!


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