NYIFF 2017 Documentary Review “Mostly Sunny”



First, the Recap:

One would suppose that if you state you’re a porn star, it’s going to get people’s attention. Now, whether for good or ill, that remains to be seen. For one girl born Karanjit Kaur Vohra in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, it was exactly this kind of mixed scrutiny she would face. Being from a traditional Sikh family, Vohra’s roller-coaster journey began with these humble roots, immersed in the family traditions, and living a normal life. However, at eighteen years of age, she decided she’d had enough of a “nothing happens here” town in Canada and chose instead to head to the U.S. and the City of Angels, Los Angeles.

What transpired from this point became a truly quirky, eccentric, yet extraordinary tale, as the choice is made to enter the adult film industry, under her own volition, due to which Vohra adopted the “stage” name Sunny Leone. In spending ten years in the industry, Leone’s career path took a decidedly different turn via marriage and the potential inroads offered into India’s Bollywood film arena. While her first film failed, her notoriety from past endeavors garnered the attention of millions in one of most overall conservative countries in the world. Overcoming the odds, defying the critics, owning her past, and standing her ground, Sunny Leone has now become an bonafide superstar.

Next, my Mind:

Directed by Dilip Mehta and co-written with his sister Deepa, this 94-minute documentary certainly involves one of the more provocative, entertainingly colorful success stories imaginable, given its premise about a girl from small town Canada ending up first in Los Angeles, becoming an adult film star, then finding herself raking it in via an industry and country whose overall manner about things totally contradicts everything the world she’s coming from represents. But, it’s that exact factor, that extreme contrast, that contrariety, that infuses Leone’s life narrative with such engaging, fascinating power. Listening to the tales shared by the many of the key people in her life, including husband Daniel Weber, costume designer Hitesh, Colors TV CEO Raj Nayak, VP of Production at Vivid Entertainment Marci Hirsch, and her own kid brother Sundeep Vohra, it paints a portrait of a much loved, determined, hard-working, follow-your-dreams kind of girl that any of us could know or, like a rather significant multitude worldwide now, wish they did.

But, of course, the real gem here is getting the perspective on it all from Sunny herself, and again, what might surprise you is the overt vulnerability under the shiny, star-studded, mega-star veneer. In making the choices she has, there’s been a whirlwind of highly varied, sometimes tumultuous, reaction and examination. Yet, Sunny bears it like a champ while proving she’s very much only human in how she desperately misses her parents, gets emotional being back in Sarnia for a visit, was impacted by initial failures in Bollywood, suitably amazed when it all turned around, sincerely treasuring those closest to her,  and additionally remaining unapologetic, undeterred, and even more doggedly attuned to who she is, and what she brings to the Indian film industry. It’s her life, her world, her choices (ramifications and all), and her ability to weather even harsh criticism with an unassuming smile.

In total, while this reviewer fully acknowledges not at all endorsing the adult film industry per personal preference, “Mostly Sunny” goes well beyond that and Sunny’s involvement to give us an insider’s view as to who this Canadian-born actress really is at the core. What we find is a beautiful, intelligent, business-minded yet down-to-earth woman who’s found her path to success, is enjoying every moment of what the adversity and labors have produced, and is simply staying open to whatever opportunity might come her way next. In the meantime, it assuredly appears that the weather ahead is currently remaining bright and all clear.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!




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