In a candid interview with 'Deadline' at Cannes, Sunny Leone talked about how one call from 'Bigg Boss' enabled her to transition from an adult film star of some 12 year's standing (2001-13) to a mainstream film star with 30 projects behind her, walking the red carpet of the world's most prestigious film festival.
In Cannes for the world premiere of Anurag Kashyap's cop noir movie 'Kennedy' in the Midnight Section, Leone told 'Deadline' how 'Bigg Boss' executives relentlessly pursued her. They even sent the Canadian Indian actress a powerpoint presentation to convince her to come on board.
She remembered telling her then boyfriend, now husband, who urged her to commit: "'You're out of your mind — I'm not going to India, they'll hate me.' I've already gone through so much hate in that community."
Sitting in Cannes, the actress recalled the hurdles she had to overcome to be on the show 'Bigg Boss 5, 2011-12, with Sanjay Dutta and Salman Khan). "There were death threats and bomb threats," Leone, who was the Penthouse Pet of the Month in 2003, said.
On being able to transcend her previous image, Leone told 'Deadline' that 'Big Boss' enabled her to build a humanity with viewers.
"I think people related to me — I was human, and not jumping on tables and doing all sorts of crazy stuff," Leone said. "They related with me as a person, cooking, cleaning … that's what they connected with. People connected with that girl on 'Big Boss' and disconnected with Sunny Leone from the adult entertainment industry."
'Kennedy', Anurag Kashyap's fifth film in Cannes, stars Rahul Bhat (previously seen in Kashyap's 'Ugly' and 'Dobaaraa') as an insomniac ex-cop, who dwells in different circumstances looking for redemption. The ex-cop, who is presumed dead for a long time, operates secretly for the corrupt system. Leone plays a laughing femme fatale in his life, notes 'Deadline'.