The Pulp Pit

Why Sunny Leone is excited about MTV Splitsvilla 9

The 'One Night Stand' actor gives her two pence about the reality TV show and balancing her Bollywood career.

 |  The Pulp Pit  |  6-minute read |   04-06-2016
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Life is a pain in the neck for Sunny Leone literally, as we get ready for a tête-à-tête. A nerve in the neck is working up, and a quick medical check-up has been called for.

Bollywood's oomph diva of the hour, however, has no time to mope over ailments. She is all set to return on MTV Splitsvilla Season 9 as host and mentor, and there is work to be done.

Also read - Judging Sunny Leone is judging all women who dare to be 'different'

Pre-release promotion tops her list of priorities right now, far above petty medical conditions. "When you have readied something amazing, you need to tell the world that fact," she says, about going all-out with publicity for the new season of the MTV show that has made her popular among the youth segment of the audience on the small screen.

It is a reason why she is excited to return to Splitsvilla. "I have always wanted to belong to the young crowd that MTV represents, so each year when I return to host this show I feel excited all over again," says Sunny.

04fir23-3_647_060416_060416053737.jpg Sunny Leone is all set to host MTV Splitsvilla Season 9 with VJ Rannvijay Singh.

"To me, this show is about reaching out to a whole new market, which is the youth. In films, each role is different so the perception I give out on screen depends on what character I play. On TV, since this is my only show, it helps me reach living rooms with the specific image of being a representative of the youth."

Sunny has picked up the nuances of smart marketing quite fast. If she has managed to carve her space in Bollywood in just four years, she obviously understands well this is an era of aggressive hard sell in Hindi films.

Also read - Open letter to the great Indian hacker: Get over Sunny Leone

"This is show business, and you have to understand you are part of a process that creates just another product. Even the best product needs to sell well. This is why it has become important for you to have people behind you to push your efforts into the public glare and on social media," she explains.

Splitsvilla has clearly found a special place in her heart. Perhaps it has to do with the dynamics of the game, which reaches out easily to her target fan base - the youth. She is excited about the new theme being introduced this year. In its ninth season, Splitsvilla is about the female contestants being on top.

sunny-leone-7594_060416053940.jpg In Mastizaade.

The theme this year is "Where Women Rule". "Any small change affects how the game will be played in front of the camera. This year, the male contestants will have to measure up to the women, who will have the power on the show. So, that alters the psychological equations we get to in the game substantially. It should be fun."

Sunny agrees changing format of the hugely popular game is necessary to stay abreast of dime-a-dozen similar reality shows targeting the youth that have cropped up on rival channels lately.

"We keep changing the format to maintain novelty," she says, though she says her personal approach as a host and mentor will be the same as always.

"I have been consistent in my approach as mentor and host on the show. I try to give advice as fairly as possible, without interfering with the strategy of the contestants or what their judgment might be about their rivals. I have tried to foster a rapport with everyone because emotional bonds are important in this game," she adds.

The talk veers to her Bollywood career, and you spot cheerful optimism in her voice.

Also read - Sunny Leone on why women read romance and erotica

Sunny would insist perceptions about her screen image are rapidly changing. She holds up her last release, One Night Stand, "I feel the film was more substantial than anything I have done so far in Bollywood," she says of the film, which she had spoken about as one that talks of gender equality, at the time of release. "In turn, I would like to believe that things are changing for the better for me in Bollywood," she adds.

Four years and seven releases later, the ex-porn star, who rose to fame contesting Bigg Boss 5, has found her niche as a Bollywood supersiren - one who is actually unaffected by box office stats. Sunny Leone seems to be in an enviable position where her fan base is unconcerned whether her films work or not.

Yet, that sort of popularity has also made her a larger-than-life fantasy object in a way - one that has redefined Bollywood glamour and yet struggled to blend in with the mainstream.

"I believe in doing things my way. I follow the path I make for myself," Sunny explains what has worked for her. "I have come this far without a mentor. While I admire those who have done it with the help of mentors, I can say I never received any such backing," she declares.

1sl_060416053837.jpg A still from One Night Stand.

Being on her own has, of course, seen most of the major banners and male superstars turn a blind eye towards her so far.

She continues to be Bollywood's queen of low-budget hits that are high on sex quotient. Her next film is in sync with that image. After Mastizaade and One Night Stand this year, Sunny will be seen in an erotic thriller called Beiimaan Love and an erotic drama titled Tera Intezaar.

Sunny does not mince words in admitting she would like to think bigger as far as her Bollywood career goes. Her small films have given her the starring roles - most of the low-budget stuff she does have banked entirely on her at the box office.

But she is open to the idea of playing second fiddle to male superstars in big-budget, big banner stuff if it helps her make the A-league.

Also read - Who's Sunny Leone to say no one wants to be a porn star?

"Of course, I would love to work with big heroes in big budget commercial films. I have absolutely no ego issues in letting male superstars take the limelight and do their jobs while I do mine in a film. Being part of such a huge project would actually be fun!" she says excitedly.

For now, of course, Sunny is in television mode. "I love reality TV. It is 30 days' flat job, start to finish. There is not much of reshoot involved either, while working on television. In films, on the other hand, so many things happen at the same time, but then that is the fun of it. I also love the idea of going out to different locations on shoot," she says.

Balancing the two forms of entertainment as an artist, she tells you, is all about steadily tackling both the worlds. "I will do whatever excites me. That is the only strategy that has ever worked for me," she signs off.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Writer

Vinayak Chakravorty Vinayak Chakravorty @vinayak25

Film critic, Mail Today

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