Bare lies

Would you expect a biology teacher who also takes a geography class to explain mountains and oceans in biology terminology? Or a writer of horror stories to pen a children's novel using the same language? Why then expect an adult film actress to necessarily go topless for a film of a different genre?

As the report states:

Ironic as it may sound, actress Sunny Leone, who is known for her porn films in the US, recently refused to go topless for a scene in her upcoming horror flick.

Why is it ironic? What she does, or did, in a related field was the demands of her work. She has joined Bollywood with different dreams, or else she would have continued in her old job. I have never heard her run down or give a sob story about her past profession, but it is only fair to let her make her choices.

There are other mainstream actors who do agree because of the 'demands of the script' and then go around sounding conservative or, worse, as victims of the industry. However, male actors like John Abraham or Ranbir Kapoor who have flashed their butt can go around citing this as their USP.

Sunny sees the cinema she is doing now differently, as she has every right to do. We are such hypocrites. Many will watch her adult stuff, but run her down and expect her to perform as per type. She finally gave that shot in a bikini.

However, a source has been quoted as saying:

"Though she was allowed to shoot wearing a top, it was later removed using computer graphics. Her breasts were then digitally superimposed from one of her earlier films."

I do not know how she has reacted, but it is a sneaky and unethical thing to do.

It is okay:

If she did not want to physically perform the scene, but has no issues with the portrayal.

It is not okay:

If this was done without her consent and defeats the purpose of her not wanting to even be seen bared.

In very old films, actresses wore flesh-coloured body clothes beneath their flounces and feathers. This included those who made short appearances in cabaret numbers. In some cases body doubles have been used for intimate scenes. They were aware that the audience would be unaware of the 'deceit' and would perceive it as their skin, so why did they do so? Simply because of the discomfort of performing such scenes with a crowd of lightmen, spotboys and others around.

In Sunny's case, the filmmakers think this is her territory anyway, so why the chariness? I have one question for these directors: they shoot such scenes often — are they expected to only direct such scenes and nothing else? And do they identify with these in their personal lives?

© Farzana Versey


Also: Of porn and pawns


Image: Sunny Leone with Naseerudding Shah and Sachin Joshi in the forthcoming 'Jackpot'


  1. FV,

    I fully agree that the lady in question is an actor like any other and she ought to be left alone as far as her personal choices are concerned.

    But that is being an idealist. Voyeuristic media coverage and speculations arising therefrom are something every celebrity has to live with. In fact, I am not sure if they indeed mind it.

    Every comment on the subject would only compound the cacophony and defeat the purpose of the original discussion, becoming a sort of self-fulfiling prophecy.

  2. Parzana G mujhe bhaut achchi english nahi aati isliye main hindi me likha raha hoon maaf kare.
    Ye aap kis tarah ki baat kar rahi hai kya aslil film banana ek job hai? kya aap apni bahan ya beti ko iske liye bhejengi asha karta hoon nahi. ye job bilkul nahi hai or na hi ye azadi ya na hi ye dimag ka khulapan hai or ye to koi baat hi nahi ke jo purush kare wo sahi hai isliye ladkiya v wahi kare ye to dimagi andhapan hai agar purush galat kare to mahila v wahi kare chahe wo ek se jayda ke saath sex ho ya nasha khori ho ya kuch v or isko broad minded kaha jaye ye to or vichitra baat hai matlab mahilao ka koi astitav nahi koi soch nahi hai pahale purusho ne unhe dabaya ab wo khud barabari ke naam par purush ka andh bhakt bani hai ye to galat hai. wo padhane ki azadi mange, job ki azadi mange, marji se sadi ho ghumna firna ho etc. man me jo aaye wo kare yahi azadi hai fir to samaj me arajakta aa jayegi. jo purush galat kare use purush or mahila mil kar virodh kare ye nahi ke bas mahila v suru kar de wahi karna.
    meri kisi baat ka bura lage to maaf kare pad is tarah ki fizul baato ko na kahe

  3. F&F:

    You are right that as a celebrity in some senses she would have to deal with speculation, like the others. We cannot wish away voyeurism when there is exhibitionism, and it applies to any field. Therefore, we do agree that it is a matter of choice.

    Idealism apart, I am more concerned about the ethics in this particular case. Unfortunately, I have not seen much commentary on this.

  4. Anon ji:

    Aapke sawaal jaaiz hai. Aapne Hindi mien likha tau bilkul theek hai, nagar main English mein jawaab doongi. Agar aapne yeh padh kar samajh liya hai, tau ab bhi samajh jaaoge...

    1. I do believe it is a job, just as commercial sex work is. If there is no exploitation. 
    2. I have emphasised choice, so obviously I do not think it is mandatory or even personally desirable. There are several professions that are respectable that I do not like. E.g. Don't we run down politics? 

    3. Would I approve of a sister or daughter joining the industry? Perhaps not. Just as Sunny's family probably did not. Incidentally, some people do not even wish their children to join modeling, films, fashion designing, dancing, or even the army. 

    4. You wonder whether women should emulate men in the 'bad' things. It is a valid point. I do not think women should emulate or try to be like men in anything. However, I do not think you or many people will judge men with the same yardstick as you do women for these things. 

    5. I do think it needs a broad and open mind to accept other people's choice irrespective of how you feel about them. And I most certainly believe that certain respectable women get away with doing pretty much the same things. 

    Finally, if men are going to watch adult films that includes male actors naturally then we need to discuss this aspect too. Also, let us not say the market is driven by supply. Boyfriends and husbands slyly record private moments and upload them. These are not adult films, but the purpose is the same. Who is to blame here?


    Note: the replies will make the queries posed evident. 

  5. FV, the sheer gal of the producer who thinks that just because she acted topless at some point in the past, he can just photoshop her body parts without her permission. If India had a better justice system, he would not dare do such a thing for fear for getting sued. Some elementary research suggests Sunny Leone's foray into acting in the buff was, for some reason, restricted to lesbian scenes, not that it matters one way or another. But it does show that she has a keen business sense, if nothing else, and probably had her sights set on bollywood long before she entered it. Also, the bollywood producers who are used to shooting their stupid "item songs" are yet to get used to the idea that women are the masters of their own bodies even in the strict legal sense. If India progresses enough, maybe these producers can get their butts sued when they abuse their positions.


  6. Al:

    Legal intervention is a faraway dream. Even basic courteousness and ethics are lacking. I'd go to the extent of saying that, aside from the legal wrangles, even if the lady herself does not pursue such cases people ought to raise their voice. If you recall, a woman politician had no problem when Digvijay Singh used a certain term for her. The issue it that we as viewers/observers of anything in the public domain have a right to what happens in that space.

    Sunny Leone probably knows what she wants, and a good thing it is. In the past she had filed a case against some abusive stuff about her. I am not sure she would do so with a producer, for obvious reasons. But the dynamics of how these things work is worrying at so many levels. Really.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.