Free Press Journal

“I am not objectified unless I want to be”

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Interviewers piously take pot-shots at her, while secretly unable to believe they are actually sitting across their fave sex goddess in the flesh. And in the midst of it all, Sunny sitting pretty and definitely not rushing to rewrite her history. Nichola Pais notes.

For an international adult entertainment industry hottie in conservative, hypocritical India, objectification is obligatory. “You meet people that think you are going to be a certain way…they just automatically assume that oh, she’s going to jump on the table right now and start dancing and doing all these crazy things.”

Sunny Leone is doing nothing of the sort in real life – but she is giving Hindi film fans their money’s worth up on screen. Naturally she isn’t winning Bollywood’s Best Actress awards – you can’t really, when all filmmakers think you’re ideal for is a MASTIZAADE. So is she wringing her hands, feeling exploited and manipulated, like we would like to believe? Not that either.


“I am not being taken advantage of… I signed the line on that contract, I said yes to that script, I said yes to every single scene. So I am not feeling sorry for myself. Why is everybody else feeling sorry for me? I am not objectified unless I want to be.” It’s the same attitude she took regarding her earlier career as a porn star. “As far as my career goes I don’t regret anything that I have done. I believe that everything that I have done has led me to today.”

Strong, empowered Sunny Leone. However, her legions of fans aside, she’s got the populace split down the middle. It’s either sappy sympathy – ‘Misguided girl struggles to break with her dirty past’. Or then being slapped by moralists with obscenity cases for “poisoning the minds of people and especially children”. Interviewers piously take pot-shots at her, while secretly unable to believe they are actually sitting across their fave sex goddess in the flesh. And in the midst of it all, Sunny sitting pretty and definitely not rushing to rewrite her history.

…Which is not to say that she doesn’t speak up for herself. She does, but the tone is always sweet, gentle, dignified. The objectionable video clips circulating, she reminds, belong to a time when she was working in the adult film industry in the US. “I have distanced myself from any such roles after becoming a part of the Indian film fraternity. I feel it would be improper to haunt me with the past when I am trying to move ahead in life.”

It’s tough for even screaming puritans to keep up their shrill badgering after that… And now, post the infamous misogynist interview, she had the whole of B-town’s politically-correct set flying to her defence. But you get the feeling that she isn’t really counting on Aamir Khan and Co. to line up at her doorstep with top-notch film offers – she’s smart enough to know exactly how things work. And how big a difference there is between kind word and real deed.

So, instead she spouts some pleasing platitudes – “Everything happens for a reason in life,” “After each film, I pray that people take me more seriously as an actress,” “The set is my workshop and I learn something from there everyday” and “Myself and my husband are a conservative couple, a monogamist couple… we do probably do the same thing which you do when you go home, when you are with your family and cook and sit and eat together.”

And Sunny Leone, born Karenjit Kaur Vohra in Canada, goes on and does exactly what she had set out to in the first place – “have fun shooting for films in India”. India will just have to learn to handle it!