Indo-Canadian porn star Sunny Leone continues Bollywood crossover despite Jism 2

Indo-Canadian porn star Sunny Leone made her Bollywood debut in the most controversial Hindi film of the year, Jism 2, which opened on August 3 in India.

After an initial strong opening commercially, the film's box-office performance quickly fell flaccid amidst scathing reviews. Some critics even slagged it as the worst film of the year.

The erotic thriller, about a porn star (Leone) who is hired by an intelligence officer (Arunoday Singh) to help him capture an assassin (Randeep Hooda), launched amidst a backlash in response to the content and Leone.

During the opening week of the movie, protests were staged at movie houses, protesters burned movie posters and an effigy of director Pooja Bhatt, and moviegoers were abused (not in the pleasurable way, mind you). The Central Board of Film Certification had been reluctant to issue a certificate for the film.

And of course, there's the issue of the spunky little title. The word jism means body in Hindi. Unfortunately, something was clearly lost in translation. Due to the English slang meaning of the word, coupled with Leone's porn career, the film ran into roadblocks with companies like Apple, Google, and YouTube.

Yet in spite of all this, it looks like Leone's crossover bid has succeeded. (Well, for the time being, at least.) She announced that she'll be following Jism 2 up with the horror-thriller sequel Ragini MMS 2. (Ragini MMS, which starred Kainaz Motivala and Raj Kumar Yadav, was inspired by the Hollywood horror film Paranormal Activity.)

Indian music label Saregama also announced that they purchased the digital rights to Leone's photos, videos, and trivia, which will be made available on the internet. However, the content will not include any films she has made.

The Ontario-born Leone (who later moved with her family to the U.S.) had previously shot photos for magazines ranging from Penthouse to Hustler and developed a career in the North American adult-film industry.

She garnered attention in India when she starred on Bigg Boss 5, an Indian Big Brother–style reality TV show.

Leone's debut also happens to take place amid a larger, ongoing shift that Bollywood, influenced by traditionally modest cultural and moral values, is experiencing due to numerous rapid economic, international, and technological changes.

While the raciest content of Jism 2 might be rather tame by Western standards, it's important to remember that Bollywood depictions of physical affection, including kissing, remained largely unseen on screen up until the 1990s. Even Hollywood star Richard Gere got into hot water when he kissed Indian film star Shilpa Shetty at a public event in New Delhi in 2007.

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow Straight Movies on Twitter at www.twitter.com/straightmovies.

Comments (4) Add New Comment
fedup
And why is this an issue ?? Is this just another article to bring controversy because she's now a porn star and comes from a traditional background. Big Deal.

OMG, it's 2012.
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Craig Takeuchi
The answers to your questions were in the article. Controversy arose due to the protests against the film and the cultural context was explained.
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Sheeple
Where do you think 1.2+ Billion came from holding hands?

Indians like to fuck like everyone else.

It is the land of the Kama Sutra..duh...
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R U Kiddingme
"Spunky title." I see what you did there!

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