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

Posted on August 6, 2014 in Culture-Vulture, Sex, Society, Taboos

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.

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