”˜Don’t judge me, come and watch my films’ says Sunny

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By Neeru Saluja

Her entry to Bollywood was a major controversy, and so was her entry to Sydney. Despite opposition from the Indian community for her appearance at the India-Australia’s Friendship Fair, actress Sunny Leone extended her hand of friendship to her fans.

Though Sunny Leone was a known adult star in Hollywood, she gained popularity in India only after her entry into Big Boss Season 5. Director Mahesh Bhatt offered her Jism 2 after seeing her on the reality show and since then she has not looked back. Not only did she make her sensational debut, but became a butt of jokes when people associated her name with Sunny Deol!

Dressed to kill in a stunning blue and black gown, Sunny looked every inch a Bollywood star. Originally known as Karanjit Kaur Vohra, Sunny Leone opened up to a candid chat with Bollywood reporter Neeru Saluja. Amongst giggles, smiles and in a heavy Canadian-American accent, we delved more into her future than digging in her past.

Welcome to Sydney Sunny. As this is your first visit to Australia, tell you us more about the purpose of your visit.

This is my first trip to Australia. I came yesterday and am flying out tomorrow! Thanks to the organisers Maxine Salma from Road2Bollywood and Yogesh Sharma from Cinestarr, my short visit has been very comfortable.  Hopefully next time I’ll be a bit relaxed as I’m shooting my next film ”˜Rait’ in Australia. The movie will be directed by choreographer-turned-director Bobby Khan and will be produced by his brother Ahmed Khan.

The film revolves around three stories and I play a central character in each of them. The girl comes from Australia and then travels to Rajasthan in India. It’s a dream come true for any girl, where the character turns into a princess. I’m quite excited as this film will be my welcome to Bollywood’s traditional outfits. I’ve already seen the reference photos of my costumes and it reminded me of Devdas and Jodha Akbar. Bobby has banned me from telling a lot about the movie, but I can’t behold my excitement!

Big Boss Season 5 was your ticket to Bollywood. Were you thinking of a career in Bollywood or did lady luck smile on you?

I received a call from Big Boss to become a participant for Season 5 but I wasn’t keen to go on the show.  Though it was the Indian version of Big Brother, the Indian community in America have been judgemental about me in the past. My husband Daniel convinced me and showed me the presentation and episodes. I finally thought why not, let’s do it.

I wasn’t planning on a career in Bollywood, but then Big Boss made it all happen. Though I’ve been a part of the film industry, Indian cinema is completely different. In India, fans are mad about celebrities. If you do a reality show in America, they don’t care. But here people identify you even when you walk on the street. Director Mahesh Bhatt spotted my talent on Big Boss, and rest is history.

How was it being a part of a reality show in a country where you knew nobody?

I would be lying if I say it was easy. It was hard being locked up in a room in a foreign country. But it gave people a chance to see me as a person for the first time in my life. They came to meet me, talk to me and I got to know about my housemates. That’s the reason why I ended up being in the living room every night at 10 o’clock!

I have heard that after Jism 2 you were receiving 2-3 scripts everyday. Did you want to avoid not being stereotyped with your sexy image?

It’s true that offers never stopped after Jism 2. But I pick stories that I like. Every movie should be sexy. Why do people go to watch Angelina Jolie? Because she looks sexy. Every mother, grandpa, wife, husband, woman should look sexy! If you are gorgeous then why not feel it? People want to watch movies because after a busy day you want to escape. Entertainment is all about glamour and the look good ”˜feel’. People should remember a film is a fictional story, it’s not real, nobody flies in real life! It’s the responsibility of the audience to control and choose what is right and what is wrong. You can’t stop this generation from anything, social media and entertainment are very fast channels.

Being born and brought up in the west, has the Indian language ever been a barrier for you?

Learning the Indian language has never been a challenge for me. I grew up in a Punjabi household where I understood Punjabi and Hindi. We ate Indian food everyday – Fridays and Saturday were the only pizza days. I watched Indian movies and as a family we engaged in Indian activities. As I understood Hindi, it made it easier for me when I got a script. I speak only in Hindi to my staff, except for my make-up artist who is non-Indian. Though now she is learning Hindi but only the swear words!

What is Sunny Leone doing now as an actress and what does Sunny do when not acting?

(Smiles) I have recently completed shooting for Ragini MMS 2 and Jackpot. My 2014 release would be Tina and Lolo, an action packed film based on two heroines. People will love this film. When I’m not acting, I love to read a lot and do abstract painting. I also love to play with my two dogs and surf. Next time when I come to Australia I’ll be looking forward to some surfing.

What’s your secret of being so fit and good looking?

I’m a fitness freak. As celebrities, we need to travel a lot. There is no way we can go from one country to another country in few days. We have to be physically active and increase our stamina. Once I land, I go to sleep and take care of my body. I avoid fried food and tend to eat healthy.

Would you like to say something to the Indian community in Australia?

Keep an open mind, don’t judge me. Come and watch my movies. Enjoy movies for what they are ”“ entertainment and just entertainment.

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