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Why Should Sunny Leone Be Trolled For Using Kaur In Her Biopic?

Sunny Leone's new biopic, Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone, is out, and as expected, people have problems with it.

Sunny Leone’s new biopic, Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone, is out, and as expected, people have problems with it.

When I was a young girl, I’d be angry to see that different sets of rules applied to my brother and myself. While he was allowed to stay outside for as long as he wanted, making friends with whomsoever he wished, wearing or doing whatever he desired without my mother or anyone else questioning him, the same rules didn’t apply to me.

I felt it was unfair but my mother used to tell me that the stricter rules were for my own good. I knew this was unfair and that things needed to change. However, when I look at my country today, I realize to my utter disappointment that the double standards between how our society treats its men versus the way its treats its women is still quite intact.

The recent controversy regarding Sunny Leone’s biopic brought this realization to my mind yet one more time. On July 16th, a biopic on Sunny Leone titled Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone was released. The series starring Sunny Leone narrates the Leone’s story of how she became a pornstar from the girl next door and then further, how she became a Bollywood star.

As expected, the biopic has been on the receiving end of massive trolling on social media. Because, you see, how dare a woman makes her choices and stand by those without any apology? Not only has Leone been upright and honest about her professions, she’s never shown remorse for any decisions she made in her life. Now that definitely cannot be expected of a Sanskaari woman by Indian standards, no?

To add on to this, we have religious leaders joining in the foray. According to reports, The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has objected to the usage of ‘Kaur’ in the title of the movie. DSGMC’s general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa is reported to have said that Kaur couldn’t be used for “the sake of cheap publicity”. He further wrote a letter to Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra, asking him to withdraw ‘Kaur’ from the title.

Some questions that I feel like asking these people:

Are we concerned about ideals such as honour, respect etc solely when it comes to women?

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When a criminal like Sanjay Dutt is shown in a positive light in a biopic titled Sanju where the actor brags about sleeping with over 300 women, how is that acceptable to our audiences? Just because Sanjay Dutt is a man?

Also, if using the title Kaur is so offensive to some Sikh leaders, how come they are okay with Honey Singh using Singh in his title and still promoting misogynistic ideas including rape in his songs?

Karenjit Kaur is her actual name and she can use it wherever she feels like. Why should anyone decides how she uses her name? And if such a strange rule applies regarding an individual’s usage of their own name, may I ask why it is only applicable to women?

A nation progresses when the thoughts and view of its citizens progress. As long as we try to hold on to our patriarchal values where women are unnecessarily stigmatized for things for which men aren’t even questioned, I don’t think we can be hopeful of building a more fair and just society for our future generations.

Image via the biopic

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About the Author

Kasturi Patra

Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by Half Baked Beans Publishers. She won the Runner Up Position in the Orange Flower Awards 2021 for Short Fiction. Her read more...

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