The porn misconception: Only hypocrites fear Sunny Leone, others love, envy her - Firstpost
Firstpost

The porn misconception: Only hypocrites fear Sunny Leone, others love, envy her


Sunny Leone is right: This world is of peetal (brass), and she is rare gold.

You guessed it right, this is intended to be an ode to the gorgeous, smart, independent and brave Leone. But, since no discussion on her can progress meaningfully without addressing her past, let's get it out of our way first.

Yes, Leone started her screen career by acting — note that word — in porn cinema. But her choice of career does not in any way give anybody the liberty of pitying, patronising or pillorying her. All these emotions are reserved for hapless victims of their circumstances, losers or those with gaping holes in their intellectual and moral fibre. Leone has none of them.

Sunny Leone should not be targeted because of her past. Agencies

Sunny Leone should not be targeted because of her past. Agencies

"Everything that I have done in my life has led me to this seat. Everything is a stepping stone… I met an agent, and when I saw these photos of these women, I didn’t think it is vulgar. I didn’t think it is wrong. I thought it was beautiful and sexy. They (people who question her past) are free, and they are doing what they want to do," Leone said in her recent interview with anchor Bhupendra Chaubey, rightly foiling any attempt to make her look vulnerable, a girl forced into a bad world.

Frankly, to think that an actor who is role-playing and faking it for the camera is the targeted victim of porn is a misconception. The real victim, if any, is the viewer who succumbs to the temptation of watching others playing out his fantasies.

Contrary to popular perception, a porn film doesn't put to test the resolve, patience and what we Indians love to refer to as 'character' of the actors. If at all, it reminds the viewer of the frailty of human nature by reminding us that desire easily overcomes many other human traits. As controversial French writer, film-maker and former sex worker Vergenie Despentes argues in her book The King Kong Theory, "Porn crudely reveals this other aspect of human nature: sexual desire is mechanical, and hardly complex to set in motion."

So, when an actor does her job with remarkable success, becomes the fantasy and top Google search of an entire nation, she is to be complemented, even envied, for her achievement, instead of being turned into an object of faux sympathy or forced into penitent self-flagellation.

It is to Leone's credit that she made a conscious career choice, excelled in it and when she got the opportunity, moved on to a different vocation.

Even if she hadn't, her pre-Bollywood avatar wouldn't have entitled us to the liberty of judging Leone.

Here, let me quote from the Dustin Hoffman-starrer The Graduate. In that film, Benjamin (Hoffman) is seduced by the wife of his father's friend. When he is confronted later by the husband, Benjamin replies: "What happened between Mrs Robinson and me didn't mean anything. It didn't mean anything. We might just as well have been shaking hands."

Obviously, it is a folly to give any importance to mechanical, simulated sex and judge an actor for what she did for the camera.

Instead of seeing Sunny Leone through the prism of her screen image — both past and present — it would be much better to admire her for what she is in real life: a hard-working career woman who has made the most of the cards life has dealt her in arguably world's most competitive and closed industry.

Today, she is among the few female actors who guarantee a decent opening for films at the box-office. Her appeal transcends that of many established stars, both male and female. And, according to Forbes India magazine, she is No 45 in the list of top 100 celebrities of the country.

Off screen, she is a smart, witty, confident woman who has the courage of conviction, takes pride in her past, is open about her sexuality and preferences and doesn't give a damn to what others say about her. And, if you have watched her interviews, you would realise she also has a philosophical bent of mind. Aren't these the very traits men look for in a woman these days with a searchlight?

The men who argue that Sunny Leone is a threat to Indian culture are, of course, hypocrites. As Despentes writes in her book, these people are furious that these girls should have dared perform exactly what they want to see. 'Masculine grace and coherence in a nutshell, “Give me what I want, I beg you, so that I can spit in your face for doing it.”'

Or, maybe they are madly obsessed with her. As Leone said in her interview with Chaubey, they must (those who call for her a ban on her) must be really thinking a lot about her to put her even in their speeches.

So, dear Leone, ignore them all and continue to continue doing what you do best: entertain, entertain and entertain.

Boney M once sang: My Sunny one shines so sincere, Sunny one so true, I Love you.

Exactly.

First Published On : Jan 20, 2016 18:33 IST

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