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A Sunny Sized Problem

Friday, January 22, 2016
By Deepa Gahlot

The social media world is all abuzz about an interview with Sunny Leone, which was reportedly insulting and sexist, to which Sunny replied with wit and dignity.  Many in the industry, probably to show their open mindedness, tweeted in favour of the actress, who is almost never referred to without the prefix ‘former adult movie star’ – adult movie being a more acceptable version of porn.

Fact is that the industry itself has double standards when it comes to women. Mercifully, the old virgin-vamp stereotypes are dead; actresses today are more open about their lifestyles, don’t drink booze in steel tumblers or pretend that their boyfriends are rakhi brothers. Even in these supposedly liberal times, people don’t know how to slot Sunny Leone.  She came into the film industry wearing her ‘past’ on her sleeve.  She could not be treated as a casting couch struggler because she was also accompanied by her husband and had her own flourishing ‘adult film’ business.

She is not in any way a victim and is not asking for acceptance from the industry. They wanted her brand of skin show and she wasn’t being copy about it. She didn’t even pretend that she was a great actress hiding behind the skimpily clad exterior. The films she did, Jism 2 or Mastizaade, were meant to capitalise on her sexy image.

But still, women who have nothing to offer other than their male fantasy bodies seldom reach A List status in the industry. Aamir Khan may tweet about being willing to work with her, but will he really? Mallika Sherawat also floated in with a phoney story about her past, made provocative statements and flaunted her sexiness. Her career in Bollywood sank faster that a weighted rock flung into the sea. Poonam Pandey got her fifteen minutes of fame and Sherlyn Chopra still periodically sends out ‘hot’ pictures of herself to the media, but her career never took off.

The questions asked to Sunny, about women seeing her as a threat to their husbands, her being responsible for increasing porn consumption in India and corrupting Indian morality, were undoubtedly idiotic, but Sunny is not at all apologetic about what she does and is not seeking endorsement from anybody. The people who are showing their liberalism by criticising the interview have no say on rampant sexism and exploitation of women in the industry. The fact that they are jumping to Sunny Leone’s defence, even though she cares a damn about other people’s opinion, probably means she is doing something right. What it is, we’ll know when Aamir Khan actually signs a film with her.

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