Sunny Leone opens up about transitioning from adult entertainment to Bollywood: ‘There were death threats, bomb threats’


After making a name for herself in the adult entertainment industry, Sunny Leone moved to India after debuting on Bigg Boss season 5. She went on to appear in several Hindi movies, and is now a part of the Cannes title Kennedy.

Actor Sunny Leone, who walked the red carpet of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, for the world premiere of her film Kennedy, spoke on the sidelines of the fest about transitioning from the adult entertainment industry to Bollywood. She said in an interview that her journey was not without hurdles and hate, but she also received a lot of love from Indian audiences who discovered her on the reality show Bigg Boss.

Sunny moved to India after appearing on the fifth season of Bigg Boss, but her grand introduction was met with a pushback. She told Deadline, “I was in the adult entertainment industry, and Big Brother India, which is called Bigg Boss, called and said, ‘We want you to be on the show’. And I told my boyfriend, now my husband, ‘You’re out of your mind, I don’t want to go to India, they’ll hate me’. Because I’ve already gone through so much hate within that community, at that moment, I was like, ‘No way, you’re out of your mind, I’m not doing that’.”

Sunny said that Bigg Boss was ‘very persistent’, and they event sent her a PowerPoint presentation of their viewership. She said that after some convincing, she agreed to do the show. But things didn’t go smoothly. “Right before getting on the show, there were a lot of hurdles. There were death threats, bomb threats. The CEO of Viacom, I believe, he had to quit because of this pressure and someone else came in. He said, ‘Well, you’ve already signed her to be on the show, let’s bring her in’,” she said.

Sunny continued, “What people related to was that I was human, and not jumping on tables and doing all sorts of crazy stuff. They related with me the person, who was cooking in the kitchen, cleaning… People connected with that girl on Bigg Boss, and disconnected with Sunny Leone from the adult entertainment industry. I’m not talking about the industry, I’m talking about an individual who doesn’t know my background, and then found out my background. In that way, I had many, many people supporting me. Then the first movie was there, and there were a lot of not so nice articles, and a lot of hate, and a lot of hurdles and hate between all that as well.”

Kennedy, a thriller directed by Anurag Kashyap, premiered at Cannes as a part of the official selection. The movie stars Rahul Bhat in the lead role, of an ex-cop with his own moral code.