Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sunny Leone

“I had to adjust so much to this world, because obviously, it wasn’t going to adjust to me”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(From the April 4, 2015 issue of Super Cinema)

Beneath the image that Sunny Leone carries, is also a simple, hard-working girl. Maybe it’s this hard-work that’s led to a transition from being an adult film star to a Hindi film actress. Adapting to the culture here and making space for herself hasn’t been easy though, she confesses; but with films like ‘Jism 2’, ‘Ragini MMS 2’ and some popular chartbusters like ‘Baby Doll’ to her credit, Leone is slowly climbing the ladder. Her next film, ‘Ek Paheli Leela’ which has taken the challenge quotient for her a notch higher, is set to hit the theatres. In a printed shirt paired with shorts, looking as lovely as ever, Sunny Leone gets chatting about this film, and shares why she feels blessed.

How difficult was it to play a character like Leela, especially getting the colloquial Rajasthani accent?
It was a long process to get the look right. The first look test, which was for the poster we released first, took about six hours. And then, every morning it took 2-3 hours for becoming Leela. I had to get up early before everyone else, before the sun was up. My whole body was painted dark brown because she’s a village girl from Rajasthan, meant to be dusky. I think, tan is very beautiful, so being her was a lot of fun. But what was really hard was the dialect and learning the words, for instance, mera became mhaara, and tera became thara. Every single word was changed. I would grab people from the set, tell them to sit with me to help me learn my lines, tell me how to say them and get the pauses correctly. They probably thought this girl is mad, but for me it was all about becoming my character. And then, once I had these lines memorised, I had to create what she was. She is beautiful on the outside, but she’s not soft-spoken. She’s strong, a little rough around the edges while she speaks, not delicate at all. In a way I loved that part, because that’s how I would like to be, all the time. So, there were a lot of things I had to bring in and follow it, through the film. But it happened gradually while we were shooting. 

Not to mention, it must be difficult to find relatability when it comes to characters like these…
It’s a drastic change, my normal personality is not like her or like most characters I play. But with Leela, like I said, she’s a little rough around the edges when she opens her mouth, she has these weird hand gestures, so bringing the body language or mannerisms for her was a different experience altogether. I would start acting like her even in-between the takes, I became that way in the process. I enjoyed it though. The rest of the crew would start talking like that too.

The promotions for ‘Jism 2’ had just begun and you got so excited seeing a huge poster of the film, while I was interviewing you in your car. You said you’d never expected to see yourself in a Hindi film. From then to now, how has it been?
From the time I was sitting in the car with you, to today, it’s a different world. Sometimes when Daniel and I just sit and look back, we wonder, ‘What the hell happened! Can you believe it?” We’ve come from where to where. I’ve come to a different world altogether, as an individual, as an entertainer. I feel so blessed when I think about it, though I still think what’s going on is insane (laughs). My journey in the industry hasn’t been easy though. I’ve been working my butt off, for the last few years. I’ve made mistakes; I’ve handled situations which maybe I should have handled differently. But I’ve learnt so much about the industry, how things work, how people function. I’ve had to adjust so much to this world, because obviously, it wasn’t going to adjust to me. I’ve had to adjust to my surroundings and learn things at a hyper speed, because I didn’t have a cushion of someone guiding me. It’s just Daniel and I, we make every decision together.

So what is it that you have learnt?
I’ve realised that every single day on a film set is a workshop. I’m learning something new every day, either about myself, or what I can do, what I can’t, what’s working and what’s not. I’ve tried and learnt from every actor I’ve worked with, not just about acting, but even how they conduct themselves. Every actor does different things, I’ve studied them.

Tell me about your line-up of films this year.
I’ve got three movies for sure coming out, this year. Post ‘Ek Paheli Leela’, there is ‘Kuch Kuch Locha Hai’ and ‘Mastizaade’ and all three are poles apart from each other. While one is a thriller of sort, the other two come under comedy and the adult comedy genre. Comedy has been a lot of fun to work on.

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