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Sunny Leone: I’m not sure if I fit into Bollywood even today

Sunny Leone: I’m not sure if I fit into Bollywood even today

Is baby doll believes that the world is indeed made of pittal (brass). But instead of letting this crush her spirit, she is determined to shine her way into the entertainment industry. Five years old and still trying to fit into the glitzy world of showbiz, Sunny Leone believes that her professionalism and hunger for good work will make her a better actor. In a candid chat with BT, the actress talks about her next film One Night Stand, the double standards that exist across the world and how interestingly, people's perception about her is changing positively in Bollywood. Excerpts...

In an earlier interview you'd said having a one-night stand is an individual choice. Having said that, do you feel this concept is acceptable in India? How do you think this film will be perceived by the audience? 

The fact of the matter is nobody wants to talk about what they did last night. So whether it is accepted or not, I think it definitely exists. Maybe it happens more in urban societies. Nobody goes out for dinner and says, 'Hey, do you know what I did last night?' It is rare, unless you have a special bond with a friend. So whether it is accepted or not accepted, whether it is here in India or in the West, people don't openly talk about their intimate encounters or relationships.

With the exposure to social media people are exposed to bold content whether on TV or films. Do you think it is time people shirk off their inhibitions or barriers... 

I think that everything is available for everyone. And India being one of the largest populations, everybody has access to whatever catches their fancy. The youth of this country has access to everything, they are smart and they are curious to know what's happening around them.

Tell us a little about your film 'One Night Stand'. 

Perhaps, going by the title, people will think, the film is only about one-night stands happening in every single scene. But it's not like that. The two lead characters have a one-night stand and it turns out to be not the best decision. We touch on the idea of gender equality and why it is fine for a man to have a one-night stand and not for a woman. When you are single and you have fun and do what you want, no one is really affected much. But when you are in a relationship, then it affects every single person around you, even if they don't find out. It's a very fine line of breaking that trust.

It is different for a man and a woman... Do you think this holds true? 

I think there are double standards across the world. They were not created in India. This battle has been going on for a lot longer than just in today's time. In the 60s, there were women burning their bras on the streets in the US. Every woman's fight is different, especially when we want to be independent.

You've had some unfortunate experiences with people during an interview. Do you think you have to make an effort to explain yourself and emphasise on the fact that you are an actor?

 I don't preach to people. If someone comes with a preconceived notion, and an opinion about me, then there is nothing I can do about it. I can't change somebody's opinion when they have already formed one. If by the end of their meeting me, they have changed their mind, it's wonderful. I can't tell people over and over again, 'Hey I am a real person, I too have feelings. I am an artiste, I am an entertainer'. I can't do that, because sometimes people have already made up their mind.

There have been a lot of Bollywood stars who have taken a stand for you, have spoken up for you... 

I've noticed in the last six to eight months, there has been a very interesting change. Maybe because people have started realising that I am not just here today and leaving tomorrow. I would like to believe that I have a good reputation as far as professionalism goes. I am not that kind of a girl who is outgoing and bounces around at a party. In fact, at a party I am generally shy and an introvert. Lately, I've noticed that people have walked up to me, they've made conversations and have been very nice. I was never expecting that, because of the things that has happened over the last five years. It's been nice and surprising.

Was it difficult for you to fit in to this industry? 

I am still not clear if I fit in Bollywood even today. I see these people on TV, on red carpets, award shows and I find them so cool. And I look at myself and feel I am not so cool. When I entered the film industry here, I did feel isolated. One of the award shows I went to, no one wanted to go on stage with me. It was such a weird feeling, someone hates you that much... or someone dislikes you that much. I don't believe that is because of me as a person, I think it is just my name.

 I have always kept to myself. People ask me if I have friends in the industry. I have acquaintances and there are people that I know. I believe people in the entertainment industry don't make friends to begin with. We are busy shooting most of the time that we are all in our own little bubble. When you meet somebody you have to make an effort to stay in touch. I've met a few people who've been really nice. Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao invited us to their place and it was lovely to have a conversation with them. I have made some friends in the industry, but I still don't have a 4 am friend.

You've always said that you want people to perceive you differently and you are keen to do film which show your acting skills. So how do you choose your films? 

I am not 'as they come' kind of a girl. I am very calculated as far as the whole process goes. Whether the film does well or not, that depends on how the audience accepts it. But I read everything that comes to me — every script, synopsis. Ninety per cent of the scripts that come to me, for some reason don't work out. My husband and I have a very balanced approach in which we handle each film. I deal with the creative, he manages the business part of it. And if I am uncomfortable with something, I don't sign the film.

Who according to you are the hottest actors in Bollywood?

 Ranveer Singh is interesting because he has an over-the-top personality. He is also a very nice person. I think Aamir Khan is also very good looking.

You were one of the most googled celebrities in India last year. Does it take an effort to keep the bar high... to keep the popularity going? 

My fans are the only reason that I am still here. The day I will be number 2, I will be really happy for the person who has taken my place. That would mean that they've worked harder than me, and I would have to work harder next year to prove myself in some way.



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