MUMBAI, India—Jism 2, the Bollywood film starring adult superstar Sunny Leone in her first mainstream movie role, opens today in India. The erotic thriller, directed by Pooja Bhatt, with her father Mahesh Bhatt producing, has generated a year's worth of media attention in a few short months as interest in Sunny has exploded in India, not least because of her star turn this year in India's version of Big Brother, called Bigg Boss.
The movie has also generated some unwanted controversy, with the mayor of Mumbai insisting that posters for the movie be removed from city buses because he considers them "obscene."
The elder Bhatt responded angrily, saying, “Politicians and people in high offices want to derive publicity from things like this. They only start moral policing two or three days before a film’s release. At this moment, I feel like a man who is rushing his wife who’s in labor to the hospital, and on the way, an armed cop wants to pick a fight!”
According to the Washington Post, the movie's title has also "set off alarm bells at Apple, Google and YouTube. Apple rejected the filmmakers’ request to list Jism 2—a sequel to the 2003 film Jism—on its Movie Talkies app." The word "jism," which in English is slang for smen, means "body" in Hindi.
"Google ultimately allowed the filmmakers to tag their ads with 'jism' and 'Sunny Leone,' and YouTube allowed the promotional videos," reported the Post. "Apple, though, is insisting the filmmakers either remove the promotional photos of Leone or restrict the content with an adult rating."
No matter what problems the movie experiences, however, tomorrow's opening of a major release starring an adult performer of Leone's stature is a turning point for India and a significant achievement for Leone, who has won over the Indian public not only because of her beauty but also because of the sheer force of her personality and her unwavering determination to dispel any preconceived ideas about how a porn star is supposed to behave.
And no matter how the movie fares with the critics—and one so-so review is already in—Leone's future looks bright. The 31-year-old says she is already working on a post-Jism 2 film in India that will keep her busy for the next year, which means she will not be performing in any adult productions during that time, even though her Sunlust Productions adult label will continue to produce and release adult films. She also is promoting PETA India in new ads that proclaim, "Too Much Sex Can be a Bad Thing."
But the married star says one thing she will not be doing is returning to Bigg Boss next season. "I would never go back to the house again... it is insane, it is crazy," she recently told IANS. "But what it did for me is it opened the doors, opened a new world—something that I had never imagined."