Free Press Journal

How Sunny Leone beat the bullies…


Who will not be left impressed by the grace and dignity with which Sunny Leone accepts her past? Speaking about becoming an adult film actor, she reveals in a recent interview that after school she went to college ad wanted to be a paediatric nurse. But later she moved into a different business.

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Working in the adult film industry was her choice, she states, and she does not regret any of her choices. She sees everything as a stepping stone to something bigger and better. If it wasn’t for her beginnings in that industry she wouldn’t have been here today, she points out, and she refuses to be ashamed of her past. It was something that just happened and she wasn’t coerced into it. That said, she has faced tremendous flak, insults and disparaging comments. Also, her parents were not all happy with her choice of work. They were shocked and really hurt by her choice. But even when the criticism got too vituperative, she refused to cower down. She was perhaps meant to make this journey before reaching where she has today.

In India, it doesn’t cease to amaze her how warm people are to her today. She refuses to believe that India is orthodox and closed-minded. Her modus operandi here has been to just be herself. She doesn’t force her views nor does she ever project herself in a loud, crassy way. She does not believe in forcing people to accept her or her choices. Instead she prefers to prove herself with her actions, by working hard and staying consistent to what she is. Fully aware of who she is, what she wants to do and the path she wants to take, she will still not share this all but let her actions speak instead.

She has seen the highs and lows in Bollywood and has lived to tell the tale. After the resounding success of JISM and her super successful song, ‘Babydoll…’, a spate of flops like Jackpot, Ek Paheli Leela and Fuddu followed. A period of analytical scrutiny followed, after which she and husband Daniel Weber decided that it was time for a drastic transformation. A coach was hired to work on her Hindi, while a dialogue coach worked alongside on her diction and acting. Personally, it was a low phase too with she, her husband and her team being attacked with mean messages, rude comments and nasty trolls. A non-bailable case was also filed against her at that time which shook her completely. And who can forget that horrible, misogynistic interview on television, in which she was made the victim of a scathing attack…

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Ironically, it was this interview that changed things for her completely. Despite being verbally ripped, the grace and dignity with which she fended these blows only won her appreciation and support. She recalls deciding how she wasn’t going to let the man get the better of her and instead of storming out of the interview, decided to face his questions upfront and speak her heart out. It was the start of good things…When news broke of her being cast in the ‘Laila…’ song opposite the one and only Shah Rukh Khan in RAEES, it was the biggest slap in the faces of people who had been derogatory about her. People had sniggered that on actor wanted to work with her. She was told that they didn’t like who she was. She was told that actors won’t work with her because their wives don’t like her! Her song with SRK put paid to all these allegations.

Today she says she is on the top of the world with Raees being a superhit. The appreciation she has won inspires her to do better work. She is gung-ho about her upcoming films including Tera Intezaar with Arbaaz Khan. Besides films there’s her perfume ‘Lust By Sunny Leone’ and an upcoming cosmetic line which will be launched in India soon.  Looking back with a sense of achievement, she feels that she has come a long way today. She admits to having been criticised for her choices but draws your attention to the ability women have to put their message across without yelling or being undignified.

Scream, shout or swear and be prepared to be ignored. Instead, a lowered voice, and a tone that’s stern yet respectful is what it takes to tackle bullies. That’s the way she has stood up to people who have tried to bully her. At the end of the day, what matters to her is the fact that she has been successful in standing up for her rights and voicing herself the way she wanted to. Sunny Leone… so much more than a gorgeous face.