Every time we meet Sunny Leone, we find it difficult to ignore her infectious warmth. This time too, the actor was all ears when we directed a barrage of questions at her. Here, she talks about people’s perception of her, how she felt “hurt” during a recent televised interview, and more.
Are you now used to the unpredictable nature of films and the industry after four years in B-Town?
From the outside, I look really positive, but inside, I am always freaking out, because you want your films to do well. We all worked really hard and had a lot of fun shooting for my recent release. That is something Daniel (Weber; husband) reminds me about every time I don’t feel great on seeing the box-office performance of my film, or if someone writes something nasty about me. I have come to terms with the idea that I have to figure out a way to find my own Zen and deal with all of that.
Do you feel that people look for reasons to pick on you?
It’s an everyday thing now. I am a soft target. I don’t understand what they are trying to get out of it. I don’t understand what their mission is. They are being nasty just for the sake of it. There are so many issues like homeless kids, and garbage on the streets. Instead of attacking me, maybe people should start helping those kids, start a school for them, etc. I wish people would react to things that actually count. Why do you want to waste money on a parade protesting against Sunny Leone? Please use that money to buy books for kids.
Recently, an interview you gave to a news channel was really talked-about, and was even called “sexist”. Did you lose patience at any point?
I was done five minutes into the interview. But I wasn’t going to walk out, because I didn’t want to prove that everything that he is assuming about me, and saying, is correct. That’s what people would see, after all. It wasn’t about the questions; I have been asked about my past earlier as well. It was the manner in which they were asked. That’s all. I have never felt I was being interrogated before that interview. So, that part was a bit difficult.
What was your first reaction when Aamir Khan tweeted to you?
I was shocked and surprised. I was in my car, and jumping around like a kid. My driver probably thought I was crazy. I didn’t expect that, so I was elated with the first message; and then the second one came. I was so grateful and thankful for his support. People look up to him, and he is loved and adored.
Would you call that interview a hurtful experience?
I was more hurt by the fact that no one came to help me. Everyone heard the entire thing [from outside the room]. But, maybe because he is a senior journalist, so they didn’t want to interrupt or disrespect him. Even I didn’t want to do that. I thought I was going to get into trouble once the interview is aired. I was so scared. Later, I told him that I felt hurt.
You also received a lot of support from all quarters after that televised interview…
People also felt the same thing that I was feeling sitting in that chair. I was surprised, happy and thankful with the amount of support I got. It was unbelievable. It’s something that I had never imagined. So many people from the film fraternity wrote about it. I got calls and messages from many of them. I never got those phone calls before (laughs). But it was nice that they were all so supportive. Even if I did feel uncomfortable during the interview, something remarkable happened after that. Maybe, people saw a different side of what they thought I was.
Do you feel there is too much focus on you all the time?
There are times when things become really overwhelming, and I get so overwhelmed that I don’t know how to handle certain situations. My reactions are seen only by one person — Daniel. It becomes too much to deal with at times, but I have a really healthy relationship with him. So, even if I don’t want to talk about it and if I want to stay in my own bubble, we figure out how to get through things. Sometimes, it takes time to process. Like, I need another couple of weeks to process a lot of things that are happening right now (laughs).
Do you ever lose your temper?
I am not a violent person, so I don’t throw things around when I’m angry (laughs). I generally don’t yell at people. I do get frustrated, and even if my voice changes, people don’t hear that type of tone that might scare them (smiles).
Were you expecting your new film to be received so well?
After the release of Kyaa Kool Hai Hum 3, we were a bit worried, as we had thought that it would do really well. So, obviously, it did affect us. But I really believe that those people who were afraid to watch another film in the same genre the following week have come out and are watching our film. So, the numbers of Mastizaade aren’t falling as much as we thought they would. That is a good sign and shows that people are enjoying the movie. It’s still holding on and floating in the middle (laughs). My timeline on Twitter and Facebook is full of praises, and that is a good sign.
By now, have you noticed a shift in the way the film industry perceives you?
I definitely don’t think it is the same. Over the past six months, I have noticed different shifts in different directions. Even the film fraternity has been very nice. It’s nice to see that people are receptive. When I go for awards shows, people meet me warmly. I have definitely seen a change. I haven’t actually signed a film in a very long time, but we have three films in the pipeline. I could sign a new film every day, but is that the right decision? Probably not.
Do all these controversies trouble you?
It depends, as each situation is so different. So, for instance, when we were dealing with the FIRs (several FIRs have been filed against the actor for “promoting obscenity” and “damaging Indian society”), it wasn’t the time to get upset. Instead, we had to think fast and work faster, and more so for Daniel than me. When one of us is going crazy, somehow we pick each other up, and try to find a way out. Neither of us really freaks out, but it’s chaotic. When I am freaking out, he is calm and vice-versa.