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“India Allows A Porn Star In Bollywood”: Why Are We Making This Such A Big Deal?

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By Azra Qaisar:

Over the years, the mainstream media in India has evolved when it comes to its relationship with sexually explicit content. Gone are the days when Bollywood showed sex in metaphors and discussed it in hushed tones. Yet, as film makers and their audiences evolve and move towards a more liberal attitude towards sex, there is still a long way to go in developing a similar attitude towards adult actors.

sunny-leone

When a porn actor decides to go mainstream, the only thing that the audience ideally needs to be concerned with are the acting skills. Why is the cross over made to be such a big deal? Why is it that they are treated as outcasts? Mainstream actresses act in sexually explicit scenes too, then why do we cringe when we see an porn star in Bollywood?

In 2012, when the Indo Canadian porn star, Sunny Leone made her debut in Bollywood, she stirred up quite a few controversies. While some said that it was time for India to “allow” adult stars into Bollywood, many others went up in arms against the same. Many filmmakers and a large part of the audience found it hard to grasp the crossover from the adult film industry to Bollywood. Actors are embarrassed to be seem with them and directors are not keen to sign them. They are labelled and not seen beyond their image of an adult star. The discrimination is open and the attitude is biased, just because the person worked in a different genre of acting earlier. The talent of the actor is not even taken into consideration in most cases. In a country where most actresses jive to item numbers and are trying to be more bold in their performances, the attitude towards porn actors is rather hypocritical. One has to understand that the adult film industry runs on the same principle as the mainstream movie industry – it seeks to provide entertainment. The performers in both the scenarios are actors, the difference lies in the nature of their performance. Had the genre not been treated as a taboo, these actors would have been accepted much easily.

When it comes to the western world, their attitude towards such crossovers is not very liberal either, but is far less discriminatory than in India. There are indeed innumerable instances where porn stars are cast only as strippers or prostitutes but then there are people like Sylvester Stallone, Sasha Grey, Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy too, who came from this genre but made it big out there. However, the fact of the matter remains the same — it has not been easy as people refused to see them as actors before they became a major name.

Porn stars are actors too. As hard as it may seem to understand, it is a fact that needs to be kept in mind before passing judgements. So, the next time an adult star moves to mainstream, lets remember that it is not the time to run to our “culture and values” for cover. Instead, there is a need to be more liberal and base one’s judgement only on the talent of the person.

You must be to comment.
  1. Green Lantern

    While the gist of the article is correct, it goes overboard trying to level porn with mainstream cinema. There is a world of difference between the two.

    1. Bakar Baba

      Don’t you have like a planet or something to save with your green shizz?

    2. Gomathi

      You have got it wrong. The message is very clear in the article.

  2. Bakar Baba

    Half the reason why I am on this article is the photo. The other half is the fact that you make sense. I think we all just love overglorifying anything. Why should a Sunny Leone not be allowed to be in Bollywood? I think no answer can be a reason enough for her to not give a shot at this.

  3. prakhar

    You talk about the hypocrisy prevailing in Indian society, where we see porn indoors for entertainment and come out to join the protest against porn, or a porn actress entering mainstream cinema. Let us have a look at another kind of hypocrisy.
    Why do you think Sunny Leone could have been chosen for Bollywood movies one after another? What made her way easy into the bollywood? Because of her acting ability. I dont think so. The very fact that she is a pornstar, of Indian origin,made her very marketable. She is acting in movies where this image can be exploited. You act in movies where you are perpetuating your pornstar image, making a huge excitement and make a fuss about it and once you are a hit, you want the people to forget how you made your way up into the industry. That I think is hypocrisy.
    Are the people of India joining a protest to ban her from the industry? No.
    Yes, compared to Americans we get overexcited when it comes to sex. While it is good or bad is a subject of another debate, it is the reason why she has achieved so much popularity in Bolywood. She has to reap both profit and loss.

    1. Azra Qaisar

      I am not saying that she is a great actress.My point is that people need not judge her because she is from the porn industry.My point is not why she chose India and the article is NOT about her,she is an example.

      Also,you say that people are not asking her to leave the industry.Let me tell you this,when she went to Indore this March,there were protests against her visit.It was unacceptable to a major group of people.

    2. prakhar

      The Indore case is deplorable for any civilised society where we try to trample on other person’s basic right to live and do his/her profession. That point is valid. But, about judging her- what do you think people would generally make of her when they know that she is a pornstar? Will it be any different from when we assume a professor to be intelligent or a sweeper to be illiterate? Many in west say, not to mix profession with social image. But I think, one’s profession is a huge part of one’s identity and one will always will be and should be judged by his/her identity.

    3. Gomathi

      As you rightly said, it is hypocrisy only. There are equal number of bad actors out there but, there is hardly any noise. How many female actors we have seen in lead roles in Indian cinema who are just there to entertain the male audience! An actor should only be judged by the justification he or she does for the character in the film. If that is not there, shun them. Judging them by any other factor is stupidity.

    4. SATYAM

      First of all we must be aware of the fact that both of these two industries (main steam and porn) have the same purpose of making profit which has no relevance with any kind of social message or welfare (mostly).
      Second thing is that while we are accepting the western culture in every aspect of life whether its being our clothing or so called different means of relationships, then why should one discriminate the entry of porn stars in main stream movies which is in common practice in Hollywood ?
      Third thing is that while main steam actors and actresses have been performing the intimate scenes then we enjoy it as a part of the movie and don’t object on it then will it be fare to object porn stars for even similar scenes or may be more protected scenes ?
      There is censor board to decide on the final release of any movie with their grades. So, it will be totally unfair to blame those porn stars or even our society for accepting them .
      Its all on the public who has the right to accept or reject a movie with their sensitive eyes which must decide on story, content and acting.
      Even in my view, it will be a boost for our society if we are being able to lift them up from a culture which is considered a same in our civilized society (the same society which is dying for porn) .
      Eager waiting for all ur responses…… Love

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