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Millennium Post

Sunny turns us on and how...

Sunny leone, who may not need any introduction even to an average non-Internet savvy Indian, thanks to her successful foray into Bollywood, and the fashion  and advertisement industry in our country, seems to have many staid takers even in the serious media who keep an admiring watch on her daily public chores – just remember how only a few days ago she was very anxiously reported for having been sighted in a new unthinkable avatar, which was that of a visitor to the famous Sidhivinayak Temple in Mumbai as a devotee. It must have been an over - enthusiastic novice at the editorial desk who coined the over-exaggerated, titillating, fancy phrase for the caption of that news, which read: ‘ The Spiritual Side of Sunny Leone’.

Now when she has reportedly said to have put her foot in the mouth by tweeting rape as something like ‘sex in surprise’, one cannot help but draw parallels of hers with other porn celebrities who caught the fancy of mainstream media for venturing into decent, public life. One may recall   the story of the US porn star Stormy Daniels who threatened to run against the Republican Senator David Vitter for Louisiana Senate seat for the 2010 mid-term election with a very witty slogan, ‘Screwing People Honestly’, but who later announced that she would not be running for the Senate, saying she could not afford a run for the Senate seat because the media never took her candidacy seriously.

Then there was the Italian porn star Anna Ilona Staller who was elected to the parliament with 20,000 votes in 1987. While in office, before the  outset of the Gulf War, she reportedly offered to have sex with Saddam Hussein for peace in the region. She was not re-elected after the end of her turn in 1991, but she enjoys a yearly pension of 39,000 Euros from the Italian state as a result of her five years service in the country’s parliament. In recent times, the shocker came from the model and cricket fan called Poonam Pandey who made a failed promise (for fear of the law)  to strip naked in view of thousands if India had won the Mohali semi-final against Pakistan.

Sunny is a decent celebrity now in her own right, thanks to the red carpet we spread for her. No problem whatsoever with that, and with her porn past and porn present, and maybe with her equivalent, avowed future in any direction she chooses, but there is a dilemma which nags at least ethically, if not legally. When a struggling actress from Mumbai got caught by the police on prostitution charges in some five star hotel in Pune, the media hounded her as if she was an evil incarnate. The faceless, nameless actress (thanks to the law for this) straight away became every crime reporter’s glee on TV and news channels. The Internet and social media too were equally ruthless to her. People too suddenly became interested in her. Curiosity naturally grew to the extent with people wanting to know immediately what serials she had acted in. The much- embarrassed, petrified and unidentifiable hounded culprit, with her face being completely wrapped with a
duppatta,
was allowed to show her scared  eyes to press cameras that spoke of her affected modesty and guilt. We are full of duplicity when we pity her predicament.

Aren’t we the same  people who have  been less critical of the initiations of Sunny Leone and the likes into our drawing rooms and study via movies, TV commercials and social media? By the way had you missed keeping track of  the day-wise commentaries of Leone’s soft escapades on television, the ubiquitous social sites like the Google News and Yahoo are full of news of her. Many people must be thanking Google search engines which led the novice and uninitiated to prohibited sites that feature her. Even the pretentious YouTube hosted videos  by Leone with dimples on her cheeks, smiling and giving lecture on her private and professional expertise to anyone who would not mind joining her class.  

Unlike some exploited actresses from the film and television industry who get lured into flesh trade because of their greed and high ambition, Leone is no naive player in the game.  She reportedly runs a big corporate style office that handles her business and career interest. She has all the business acumen to promote her career. The wonder is while the matched journey of the Indian-born porn star to Bollywood stardom has been welcome and accepted without a hitch, even a slight career reverse in the context by others has been frowned upon by the same people in Indian society who cash in on Leone’s negative reputation.

Ethically, there is not much difference though as both involve  the use of body for sex to earn money. The irony is that while a few misguided, over ambitious and  unsuccessful actresses out there occasionally get lured into the wrong profession for another day’s survival in Mumbai film studios to continue their ambitious struggle, this Indian-origin femme fatale from the West is bagging contracts here, thanks to her impressive CV which cuts quick ice with our movie-makers and their audiences for obvious reasons.

Sunny’s publicised temple visit and mis-tweets are just publicity-stunts to win the admiration of both her reluctant and keen fan following respectively. Each time the dilemma haunts, the irony is not on the media or on her, but it is on us – we the confused people willing to lap up all that we get on her.

Gurbir Singh works with the Information and Public Relations Department of Odisha

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