Very few people know that she learned to be her own hero during the tough tide, more importantly not losing her bright and happy vibe. SUNNY LEONE in conversation with PRATISHTHA MALHOTRA.
She believes in grabbing the right opportunity and working very hard towards it. While this year she is looking forward to making the brand, Sunny Leone, larger than life, she is also very excited to own a perfume line. As we wrap up our shoot with this bundle of joy, we meet again over brewing cuppas at her warm home for a heart to heart…
What’s behind that amused smile of yours…?
What I find very funny here is that people make fun of my American accent all day long. That is something I don’t think I will ever get rid of; I grew up with it. But you will never hear me doing a fake crazy Indian accent or making fun of Indian people, ever! So I find it really funny that they make fun of me (Laughs)… I have an American accent but I am a hundred percent desi. That’s the bottom line.
The last time we had interacted, you had shared about how your struggle was probably a little tougher than that of any other newcomers since you did not know anyone here at all.
One of the greatest decisions that I have made in my entire career, be it here or the US, was that one second when we decided that we are going to India for this show called ‘Bigg Boss’. We had read about it, researched about it but did not know the magnitude of what was going to happen or how great it was to be offered to be on a show like this. I believe that there are certain moments in your life which are life-altering. The moment when Daniel and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s just go and we’ll see what happens; even if bad things happen, let’s just go for it…’ It was taking a chance but Colours, Endemol, ‘Bigg Boss’ and Salman Khan were taking a chance too. There have been a lot of bad things that have happened or a lot of really tough times but the good always wins over the bad times. RAGINI MMS 2 was a business decision purely as we had done our research on Balaji. We thought, if JISM 2 doesn’t do well, at least we know that we’ll have this and this is a great and a reputable company. But I had no idea that that one decision, which at that time we didn’t have any idea about, would turn into LEELA which kick-started something pretty amazing. Eventually it all turned into amazing things, which I never could have planned.
When you started with Hindi films, did you ever feel like you were entering a crazy territory?
I never felt that I was entering a crazy territory but it was a culture shock. I wasn’t raised here, I don’t know the inner workings of what’s right and what’s not… how people do things, how everything functions, the game and the underlying game that goes on. There are so many little things that you don’t know about and what happens is, because of that ignorance on my and Daniel’s part when we first came into India, it caused a lot of emotional trauma and a lot of drama (Smiles). We didn’t know how to handle it. So did I make lots of mistakes? Yeah! I did. Did I handle situations unlike other artists do? Yeah, because I truly didn’t understand anything! But as time has gone by, you learn from your mistakes. You know, even in these last six months we’re still growing and we have been here for a while. There have been situations that have happened which have forced us to grow in a different direction, made us grow bigger. If you want to become so successful, you have to let go in certain areas. When good things happen you have to adapt and grow with what’s going on around you.
What made you hold on to things and look at the bigger picture?
When there was an emotional moment, where I didn’t understand and there were arguments going on and a lot of bad things happening because of lack of information and ignorance at my end or at their end, the thing that used to be in my mind was, ‘You will not let them get the better of you, Karen. You will not let them win.’ I call myself Karen as that’s my real name (Smiles) I kept telling myself that I would not let them tear me down and take me down as I was better than that. That is just emotional. If whatever I am doing fails and doesn’t do as well, there is nothing I can do about that but you can’t let people emotionally tear you down and let them take away a piece of who you are. So there have been moments like that and in those moments you have to give yourself that pep talk. I have given myself many pep talks (Laughs) when Daniel is not around because he is not always with me on set… I don’t have a person I can turn and talk to on set, who I can actually tell how I feel. There is only one person and that is my husband, with whom I can yell and scream and say what I feel. Then we figure out a solution. You have to roll with the punches…