She is among the top 12 porn stars in the world. The first major porn star of Indian origin, Sunny Leone — who first grabbed eyeballs here as a contestant on Bigg Boss last year — makes her Bollywood debut with Pooja Bhatt’s Jism 2. t2 caught up with shy-girl Sunny.
Jism 2 releases today. Nervous or excited?
I am excited. I really want people to like the movie and most importantly, like me in it. They have seen the promos, they have heard the music and that’s got them excited, whether it’s the skin show or the songs or the people in it. And honestly, the skin show is just a one-millionth fraction of the film, it’s so much more than that. My character Isna is such a strong one, she’s someone who manipulates people for gain and yet at the end of it all, you will feel empathy and a genuine liking for her.
What’s the feedback been like so far?
There’s been nothing but positive feedback from everyone. I haven’t really encountered much negativity. My connection with my Indian fans is through Twitter and almost everyone’s been very positive towards Jism 2. It’s lovely to see that people are unanimously just loving the film’s album (scored by Calcutta boy Arka Pravo Mukherjee). I shot for the songs day in and day out and I never got tired of them.
Why did you choose to debut with Jism 2?
I have had quite a few offers over the years, but none of them really worked out. When Pooja and (Mahesh) Bhattsaab gave me the narration, I found the plot extremely intriguing. It wasn’t the typical singing and dancing type of movie and to be honest, I am not really open to typical Bollywood right now (laughs). Something just clicked between the three of us. I genuinely liked how Bhattsaab and Pooja had envisioned Jism 2. It all fell perfectly into place like a puzzle piece.
Apart from the fact that your character Isna is also a porn star, how much do you identify with her?
Isna is a fictional character and honestly, apart from the fact that she is in the same profession as I am, there isn’t much similarity. Oh yes, apart from the fact that she is a character in love (giggles). She is like all women who are in love, give so much to a relationship and have their hearts broken.
Most in the audience will walk in for your graphic sex scenes; does that make you uncomfortable?
I am used to attention. I am used to people viewing me and my profession in a particular manner. If the people are coming in for the hint of sex and the skin show in the promos, I am absolutely okay with it because that will get them to buy the ticket in the first place! (Laughs.) I am not really worried because at the end of the day, it’s me who they will be coming to see. I just hope that Sunny as an actress manages to impress them once they are in the theatre. And by the way, the film isn’t as bold as you think it is! (Laughs.)
Was shooting the sex scenes a cakewalk?
I was pretty comfortable… no problems there. I wasn’t shy at all. I saw the sex scenes more as a choreographed Bolly dance! They were so planned right down to the last detail that it was actually so mechanical (laughs out loud). Every move… every sigh… every whisper was so well planned out… I just followed everything to the plan. We had to be aware of the camera angles and all of that…. It wasn’t necessarily awkward but it just took a lot longer to shoot. I wasn’t really used to it because in all the (adult) films I have worked on, you just push the record button and capture the moments.
How were Randeep Hooda and Arunoday Singh as co-stars?
Randeep is very serious and extremely professional. He was extremely cooperative on set. Arunoday is the fun guy… he and I were two goofballs on set, laughing and joking all the time. We would shoot an extremely intense sex scene and as soon as it was over, it would be high-fives and jokes again!
How was it being directed by a woman in the erotic scenes?
I had nothing really to compare it with since this is my first film, but Pooja is a fun person to work with. That apart, she is very committed to her job and has a keen sense of cinema. She taught me a lot about how things work in the industry. In the love scenes, her being a woman helped because I felt far more comfortable knowing that she wouldn’t really do anything that wasn’t in keeping with the film.
Hindi isn’t really your strong point…
I spent a lot of time learning the dialogues… days and days! There were people from Pooja’s team who would sit with me and we would go through the lines together. Contrary to what people would expect, learning my lines and memorising them and delivering them perfectly was the easiest part of the shoot.
What’s the career roadmap for you in Bollywood since it’s very easy to get typecast here?
I obviously have my job back there… I have a company (Sunlust Pictures Inc) to run back in the US and I am completely committed to that. I am doing another Bollywood film (Ragini MMS 2) and I hope after Jism 2, I get a lot more offers. I have already shot for three commercials here (Manforce condoms, Chaze Mobile and PETA). It’s all been very good in India... much more than what I hoped for.