Blogdosts, I wrote this before an honourable judge decided to defend this gutsy gal in public and urged fellow Indians not to let her torrid past affect their attitude towards her new life in India. I like this guy already!!!!
Meanwhile, I found myself defending Salman Rushdie's right to be at the Jaipur Lit Fest. Mind you, that's different from defending Rushdie himself ( not that he needs me as his spokesperson). On one such panel discussion, a particularly rabid person got very personal and antagonistic towards me...but when that happens, it is best to refocus on the issue and ignore the baiter.I'll be at the Jaipur Lit Fest myself... and so will Rushdie. Inshallah!
This appeared in The Week....
Sunny days are here again…
Over the New Year weekend which we spent at our farm house with family and a few close friends, an unlikely name kept popping up in casual conversations – Sunny Leone’s. Sunny , who? Sunny,what? Surprisingly, it was the men in the group who hadn’t heard of Sunny! Perhaps that had to do with their vintage and the fact they weren’t the audience for a reality show called Bigg Boss. But when they were told that a full- fledged, self- declared porn star was in the house, they suddenly perked up and asked for the television set to be switched on. As it happened, we caught Leone’s ouster , as well as a repeat telecast where she was playing coy during a rain dance.The men couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. Imagine the irony of it all – starting a brand new year discussing the life of a woman who has made a name for herself acting in euphemistically titled ‘adult’ films!
Why not? Her presence in the show had initially sent shock waves across India. And the debate at the time was mainly about underage viewers innocently surfing the net to know more about the latest entrant into a show that has a huge fan base cutting across age and cultural differences. According to one of our guests, searching for Leone on the net comes with its own risks as video after explicit video gets thrown up, showing Sunny doing what she, err, does best. Let’s leave it at that. These very graphic clips demonstrate the lady’s extraordinary skills and leave nothing to the imagination. If anything, they astonish viewers. Should such a person be invited on to a show that is designed for family viewing? Has Sunny’s presence in Bigg Boss acted as an endorsement for porn shows? Are kids getting unknowingly exposed to highly objectionable sexual content involving unnatural acts, multiple partners, permutations and combinations that are considered kinky, even violent? Apparently, this has indeed been the fall out of Sunny’s presence on the show , and parents are not amused. Her managers have been accused of using Bigg Boss to promote her own adult website and capitalize on the publicity generated.
Let’s face it, Sunny Leone is a hard core ( pardon the pun) professional. She was invited to be a part of Bigg Boss. She was paid ‘bigg’ bucks for it. This was just the sort of business opportunity her managers were looking for. India represents one of the world’s fastest growing markets for porn. She has been upfront and unapologetic about her choice of career. As a Canada–based performer born to Indian parents, her public life is there for global voyeurs to gasp at. She was here to market herself and further her ambitions. Her business plan cannot be faulted. So far, she has been offered a Bollywood film by Mahesh Bhatt. More movies may be in the offing. Perhaps, she’ll be back in the house for the grand finale. Her next few moves( on her web site , in particular!) will be closely watched. Like several other business people, Sunny is happily cashing in on the ‘Go East!’ advice. This is where… ummm… the action is. This is also where tolerance still exists in abundance! India remains the ultimate paradox. While K.K. Seetamma, head of the sexual harassment panel at Bangalore University, is busy trying to implement a ‘saris only’ rule in his state, elsewhere, a porn star is accepted with a philosophical shrug and minus too much of a fuss (“A gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do”). It is only here that Veena Malik, a Pakistani actress, can allegedly pose nude for an adult magazine cover shoot and elicit a tepid reaction from both sides of the border. On one level, we are becoming blasé and shock proof, on another, there’s a misguided attempt to cover up women, in the name of protecting them! Why not ask men to behave themselves or face prosecution instead, Mr. Seetamma? Would men respond differently to Sunny Leone today if she adhered to the ‘long sleeved blouses with modest sarees’ dress code? Would incidents of rape come down (as Mr. Seetamma insists), if women stopped ‘tempting’ men by wearing ‘obscene clothes’? Will desi bachchas become porn addicts after watching Sunny at work? Elsewhere in the world porn stars contest elections. Here we have Sunny pouting like a babe in the woods and accusing her Bigg Boss co-contestant Amar Upadhyay of violating her modesty while performing an assigned task. She primly reminded viewers that Amar was a ‘married man with kids’! And she herself a ‘married woman’. That is so cute!
2012 sounds like a promising year. And Sunny days are here again to brighten our dull lives! Yenjoy!