You’ll Never Guess What Sunny Leone & Donald Trump Have in Common!
There’s something that birthday girl Sunny Leone and Donald Trump have in common. Curious? Read this to find out!
It’s Sunny Leone’s birthday. I know, I know you must be wondering why I’m writing about it. After all, she’s no Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra, A-listers whose birthdays are special occasions for millions of their fans and admirers. Does Sunny Leone even have a fan following, apart from the sexually repressed males who find a release with the sight of her? If you’re social media savvy, and stand for equal rights, you must be asserting by now – “Yes, I am a fan! I remember how she kept her cool while facing a sexist, parochial journalist during an interview.”
But beyond this charade of sniggering mostly, and clapping when the social media tide turns, do we really care about Sunny Leone?
Karenjit Kaur Vohra, better known as Sunny Leone, is a case of paradox and a stunning one at that. Whether you like it or not, she has become a legitimate star of Hindi cinema. Now this is a status that makes many speak eloquent on how we are actually becoming broad-minded, that we are comfortable with the idea of accepting a porn star in the mainstream narrative as a serious actor. On the surface, yes, it looks like an impressive leap for our shared morality, that we are capable of such grand gestures of openness.
Also, kudos to her that she has managed something that was unheard of earlier. And the way she makes no bones about her past, accepting with a rare sincerity that it’s her previous profession that has led her to this stardom, it’s absolutely commendable. She has been covered by every media outlet of the country, and many top journalists have interviewed her on television, citing endless admiration. Looks like we have acknowledged that she has managed to move to the other side.
But here lies a curious irony. Has Sunny really been accepted as a serious actor? If you look beyond the surface of her success, the roles and the films that she has done so far, you will see the other side of the story.
The interesting part is that all her roles have just been extensions of her glorious past. Filmmakers are aware of the fact that the name Sunny Leone is attached to a certain image, and they are just prolonging that image in film after film. Even when she is endorsing a product, it’s condoms, something reminding us of her former vocation. The very existence of Sunny Leone is a telling tale of our hypocrisy.
If you are finding this difficult to fathom, let me deviate a bit, and give you an example. You must be aware of the phenomenon called Donald Trump, who has emerged in the great land of the United States of America. Let me tell you how the very existence of Donald Trump tells us more about America, than anything else. He exists at the nexus of three main components – the media, the American public and the politicians. The public knows that the media is prejudiced and politicians talk rubbish, and both are aware that the public knows it. Still, there’s a formality of integrity that is retained for the system to last. And Trump has picked up a political language so shameless that it has laid bare the hollowness of politicians at large. So whatever he talks about, the media covers, and everyone watches. In this simple way, the presence of Mr Trump has stripped the news media, the politicians and the American public of their false uprightness. The most admired country in the world has revealed itself in Trump’s actuality.
In the same fashion, the way in which we’ve positioned Sunny Leone in our collective consciousness, says a lot about us. Sunny, a braveheart, broke out of her porn image, and landed in an industry where sexism runs deep.
In the name of being progressive, this industry exploits that very image of her in all the films it sends her way. It is always a sex comedy, an erotic thriller or a horror film with hints of sex. If Sunny Leone is there, the suggestions are always present in the script, perhaps ceaselessly.
Being at the receiving end, we, the audience, don’t mind her doing the same heaving and sighing as long as she has her clothes on at the potent places. Our imagination can supply the rest of the fuel, while we devour the stuff in the name of family viewing. By the end of it all, we make her a star and earn collective kudos for being progressive.
Like Donald Trump, Sunny Leone’s presence has laid the hypocrisy of us Indians bare. But who cares? The peddler and the one being peddled at wink at each other for this kind of cleverness.
And Sunny, hats off to her, for keeping her cool in the midst of such pretence.
(The writer is a journalist and a screenwriter who believes in the insanity of words, in print or otherwise. Follow him on Twitter: @RanjibMazumder)
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