Mostly Sunny: Documentary on Sunny Leone gets mixed reviews at TIFF 2016
Ever since it was announced that Dilip Mehta would be making a documentary on the life of Sunny Leone, there's been a lot of curiosity on how the film, titled Mostly Sunny, would turn out.
Mostly Sunny, which features extensive interviews with the actress in which apparently nothing was "off the record", premiered at the ongoing Toronto International Festival. It's been met with somewhat mixed reviews — while most viewers have stated that Sunny's personality really shines through in the documentary and that it brings forward an interesting contrast — the way the actress is treated in her hometown in Canada versus the response to her here in India.
A lot of the news around the film's TIFF premiere has focused on the actress' absence from a lunch that was planned in her honour by the film's makers (she apparently had a family event to attend with husband Daniel Weber).
Coming back to the film, it charts the actress' metamorphosis from Karenjit Kaur Vohra of Sarnia, Ontario, into Sunny Leone, the most Googled porn-star-in-the-world-turned-bonafide-Bollywood-actress.
As The Hindustan Times reports, Mostly Sunny brings a few poignant facts about Leone's life to the fore: Such as being ostracised in her hometown, where no one from her community speaks to her as a result of her work in the adult film industry.
Apparently, even when Sunny revisited Sarnia with the documentary's crew, none of the inhabitants there spoke with her.
Coming back to how the film has been received, Toronto-based Victor Stiff writes, "Despite her off the charts affability, her (Sunny's) story is rarely compelling. The film does get interesting when Mehta takes his crew halfway around the world to India... (where) Leone is more beloved by strangers than her own family back in Sarnia."
His review adds: "Leone has a magnetic presence, the camera loves her. However, those traits don’t necessarily equate to a profound documentary subject. Even with the film’s colourful subject matter, Mostly Sunny comes off as drab."
Another review by Steve Gravestock, commends the director for skilfully "laying out the contradictions and complications that Leone's career has revealed in both Indian and diasporic Indian societies". "The Sunny we see here is a common-sense small-town girl who is deeply devoted to both her family (perhaps the most touching moment in the film comes when she discusses her father) and her work. What emerges from Mostly Sunny is a portrait of a woman whose exposure on the job has not destroyed the loving wife and daughter at home: if she's Sunny to millions, to her family she's still Karen," the review states.
While the film's international release is being planned for later this year, Dilip Mehta has said that the team may try for an earlier screening in India.