Sunny Leone Under Fire For Title Of Biopic Starring Herself

BOLLYWOOD—Former Vivid star and 2003 Penthouse Pet of the Year Sunny Leone on Monday debuted her new biopic—actually a 10-part online streaming series—and before the project was even released it drew protests from religious leaders. But not because the series, in which Leone stars as herself, depicts the rise of her career through porn and later Bollywood stardom—but because of its title.

Specifically, the protest was sparked because Leone uses her given name in the title of the series, a name that Sikh leaders say has religious significance that no longer applies to Leone because, although born to Sikh parents, she was educated in a Catholic school, according to India Today.

The title of the autobiographical web series is Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story of Sunny Leone. Karenjit Kaur is the Canadian-born Leone’s given name, but Sikh leaders say that because she does not practice the Sikh religion, she is no longer entitled to use the surname Kaur—the surname traditionally assigned to all Sikh girls, as the surname Singh is given to Sikh boys.

According to the site, in 1699 the 10th Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, decreed the use of the surnames Singh and Kaur—which translate as “prince” and “princess”—as a way to free Sikhs from India’s rigid caste system, a system based on Hindu religious beliefs in which a person’s caste is signified with a surname. By assigning all Sikhs the same last names, the difference based only on gender, the guru sought to establish equality among all adherents of the religion.

In an open letter published the day before the biopic’s premiere, Indian politician Manjinder Singh Sirsa called Leone’s use of her own real name in the film’s title “a bad-tasting publicity stunt.”

“To use it for a publicity stunt and depict the porn life of a celebrity is derogatory for Sikhs across the world,” Sirsa said, according to India Today. He added that if the name “Kaur” was not removed he would lead a protest at the offices of the network that is distributing the film.

We have no objection to Sunny Leone choosing her profession and getting a biopic made on her life but when she had advances in this profession under the name of Sunny Leone, why is Karnejit Kaur name being used as title,” he added.

While Leone herself has not commented on the controversy over the use of her own name, she did take to her Twitter account to retweet a comment by Indian TV personality Andy Kumar, who wrote, “Karenjit Kaur is ⁦@SunnyLeone⁩ nobody has more right over someone’s name. “

“Love you Andy! Xo,” Leone tweeted back.

Photo via Sunny Leone Twitter

Written by: Michael French

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