Not Like I Was Holding A Gun To Sunny Leone’s Head: Dilip Mehta
‘Mostly Sunny’ director Dilip Mehta reacts to Sunny Leone’s accusations that he manipulated her story.
Mostly Sunny director Dilip Mehta is disappointed with Sunny Leone’s reaction to his documentary film about her life, which was also well received at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year. While Sunny recently told PTI that she hopes the film doesn’t come to India, she also said that the story is not hers, since it’s someone else’s vision and opinion.
In this interview, Dilip Mehta responds to the accusations made by the actress and clarifies his intention behind making the film.
Q: Sunny Leone feels that your documentary about her life doesn’t do justice to her. Your comments?
Dilip Mehta: I read Sunny Leone ‘s statement with disappointment and mild amusement. Since she’s been ‘honest’ about her past, audiences should now definitely see my film Mostly Sunny, and decide for themselves whether the documentary is a figment of my imagination, or an honest journalistic portrayal of an unapologetic, unrepentant former porn star, who’s taken India by storm with her entry into Bollywood. I wish her well but she shouldn’t paint every journalist with the CNN IBN brush. (Sunny’s interview with a CNN-IBN journalist where she was quizzed about her pornographic past was labeled ‘intrusive’)
Q: Sunny feels the documentary isn’t really about her...
Dilip Mehta: Sunny drives the film. It’s her narrative. Her younger brother Sunny (who’s name she assumed) is another driving force in the film, and his presence in the film is endearing and very very sympathetic. I wonder at times which film are Sunny and Daniel referring to? It certainly doesn’t sound like Mostly Sunny.
Q: Was she happy while you shot the film?
Dilip Mehta: In the many interviews we did over a couple of years, all have been on camera.
They make it sound as though I had a gun to their heads. And that’s laughable. What is she trying to conceal?
Q: Sunny says she hopes this film doesn’t come to India...
Dilip Mehta: Why not? What is Sunny attempting to conceal? I have not tainted nor defiled her. It’s because I like her enormously that I took on this herculean project. Why is she suddenly in denial, trying to slander a likeable protrayal and our effort at an accurate depiction?
Q: She feels this is not the story that is hers...
Dilip Mehta: I challenge Sunny to deny the content of the film pertaining to her life, from her childhood to her adolescence to her adulthood. She and her husband are quoted (and shown) liberally in the documentary. Her colleagues have spoken of her and of her past avatar as an adult entertainer. Her parents and friends have spoken of her childhood years in the city of her birth in Canda, but not disparagingly.
Q: Sunny Leone feels that the documentary projects somebody else’s opinion, somebody else’s vision and that no one has the right to tell her life story, except her. What do you think?
Dilip Mehta: The documentary is carefully crafted to narrate her life’s trajectory.
It’s not an opinion that shows her in some deliberate ill-conceived bad light. On the contrary, the film is in awe of her strength of character, of her resilience in braving a storm by coming to India. Frankly, I’m flummoxed by the storm in a tea cup that Sunny, who interestingly I’ve either called by her real name Karen or ‘beti’, is attempting to brew.
Q: Sunny claims, ‘Its not a biopic made on my life, where you can manipulate and say what you want.’?
Dilip Mehta: I resent accusations of my manipulating the film. Sunny and her husband, her brother and her friends and colleagues do the talking. I have not spoken a word in the film.
Q: She says, and I quote, ‘It is not like you are appealing to cinematic liberty. This is somebody’s life. This is my life, I take it very personally.’
Dilip Mehta: In the making of this film, my team and I took no cinematic liberties. This is a documentary, not a fiction drama. This film is not feeding to the masses the same story that Sunny has been spinning for public consumption. There’s more. We’re intelligent filmmakers who have meticulously woven a serious film, not catering to her vanity, but admiring her for the tenacity to stand up to adversity.
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