Sunny Leone is going to play a dual role in Mastizaade: next month we’re going to see a sexy twin and a nerdy twin in the film. Now, Leone herself says she’s nerdy in real life, and so prefers the nerdy twin. This is why I believe her:
So. She’s been featured in Manforce condom ads for a couple of years now. But in September, CPI leader Atul Anjan decided to inform the world that her condom ads will increase the incidence of rape. Close on his heels, Barkha Singh, former chief of the Delhi Commission for Women, decided to condemn the ads too. Whereupon Sunny Leone responded quite sensibly that she was promoting safe sex and contraception by endorsing condoms. In a country where HIV and population explosion are both problems, this is more than enough explanation for us. But Leone impressed the hell out of me by adding, “It’s a good method of contraception as it doesn’t affect a woman’s health, as compared to birth control pills, which affect a woman’s body, mind and hormones.” In a world where Vidya Balan, Katrina Kaif, Parineeti and Priyanka Chopra are all scrambling to deny being feminists as if the last one would be a rotten egg, Sunny Leone is directly pitting contraception that causes men discomfort against contraception that causes women discomfort. I don’t care if you think I’m reading too much into it. I’m taking it and running.
But that’s not all I have to say on the subject. First, the ads themselves; the ones that have Leone in them. After idiot politicians playing moral police, I am determined to get the ads even more hits than the keyword “Sunny Leone” would get them, so here goes: dotted, strawberry, black grape, coffee, and, two weeks ago, chocolate-flavored. They’re a little bland for my taste but we at the Finger have had that problem with her for a while.
Second, Atul Anjan and Barkha Singh. Rajmohan Unnithan, Chairman of Kerala State Film Development Corporation, said recently that moral police are often sexually starved. Mr Anjan, Ms Singh, what do you have to say to that? Also, how do people know what is likely to cause rape unless they know what is likely to cause them to commit rape?
Third, Manforce’s advertising: they don’t rely on Sunny Leone at all. They’ve taken pains to market themselves in other ways too: an animated ad in which two condoms talk to each other about their respective fates, a problematic video in which men are threatened with fatherhood, and a delightful promotional project in which they perform what they call a “social experiment”: we watch people’s reactions as a woman drops condoms out of her bag in public.
It’s almost as if Manforce is nerdy too – using its brain to market something instead of relying on ‘sex sells’. Moral of the story for all of us who are surprised by this, and by Sunny Leone’s nerdiness: if you think someone is sexy, keep a watch out for their nerdy doppelgänger lurking around the corner, taking notes.