Being in England and following the twitter conversation over the past couple of days I almost got a sense of a national tragedy having struck India.
The microblogging site has been replete with outrage from celebrities and self-proclaimed champions of women’s rights alike. All because of a TV interview of pornstar-turned-Bollywood actor Sunny Leone by CNN-IBN journalist Bhupendra Chaubey.
Chaubey has been hung, drawn and quartered by members of his fraternity, Bollywood actors and women’s rights crusaders, who sledged him for being utterly obnoxious, downright sexist and votary of misogyny.
His fault? He reminded, allegedly too many times, Leone about her ‘past’ as a pornstar and perceived discomfort of Indian society at large in accepting her as one of their own. Commentaries, unfavourable to Chaubey, were widely circulated to establish what a ‘jerk’ and ‘monster hiding in the garb of a journalist’ he was.
I watched the interview and, truth be told, found nothing that could justify the magnitude of outrage we experienced on social media platforms.
Here are some facts worth considering;
Fact 1– Sunny Leone has been a pornstar and she’s immensely proud of it. Even in this so-called controversial interview she admits having no regrets about choosing porn as a career.
Fact 2– Had it not been for her career as a pornstar, perhaps the makers of the reality show Bigg Boss would have never noticed a ‘talent’ in her, worthy of accommodating her on the show, which then catapulted her to an instant stardom.
Once again Leone herself acknowledges this fact in the said interview.
Fact 3– Porn remains a taboo in India. The government’s decision to ban porn aside, there’s little escaping the truth that we in the Indian households can’t discuss porn as a subject, let alone watch it in front of our elders.
Those who have been pained by Chaubey’s attempts to remind Leone about her past as pornstar must introspect if they would be comfortable if their children watched the porn videos of Sunny Leone in front of them.
Likewise, would their parents and elders approve of they visiting Sunny Leone’s official website in a public glare? These are the questions, the critics of Chaubey must ask themselves. One problem, however, I had with the interviewer here was his constant reference to Sunny Leone’s porn career as ‘past.’
Wrong! A case of poor research!
Leone may have made big in Bollywood but her profession as a pornstar has never ceased to exist. Surprised?
A simply Google search on Leone’s name would throw up her official website, which proudly showcases porn films involving her, as the top link. Once you’ve liked the 20 plus seconds of the trailers, you can bring your credit/debit cards to good use by paying to watch her full videos to your satisfaction. But don’t ever confess on twitter you did so. Because it will snatch the much-needed moral high ground from you of being a women’s rights activist.
After all, being a pornstar is an ultimate sign of women’s liberation and empowerment, isn’t it? Her website is so decent and epitome of morality that most mobile networks here in England wouldn’t let you access it unless you’ve furnished your proof of age to their satisfaction.
In the meantime, please continue with your outrage against Chaubey because this has all the potential to rid India of all social malaise.
This will forever end India’s poverty, remove the stigma of being a dalit and religious minority, make corruption a history, bring crime rates against women and children to nil and, most crucially, allow communal harmony to take centrestage.
The sheer double-standards of the Indian society or its few self-appointed guardians with considerably high following on social media, never cease to amaze me. There’s an instant outrage on the perceived damage to self-esteem of a pornstar but the same folks have utter disgust towards sex workers, who at least don’t flaunt their sexual acts in public.
I wonder how many people who’ve instantly described or perceived Leone as a role model would adopt the same approach for an ordinary sex worker?
Leone and her supporters must be forever indebted to Chaubey because the journalist has made something happen which even she thought was impossible proposition up until now.
If it wasn’t for this interview, Aamir Khan wouldn’t have been prompted to ‘commit’ a film with her. That’s something even she said would have never happened. Now only time will tell whether Leone acting opposite Aamir will prove to be the much-needed breakthrough moment of her Bollywood career or it will give Mr Perfectionist his rare flop movie in the recent times.
In the meantime, please keep your outrage on!