A 15-year-old boy from a reputed school in South Mumbai was caught discussing Sunny Leone after watching pornographic videos of the adult star on the Internet. The boy who was reprimanded by his teachers and parents said he was curious to know more about Leone after she made an appearance in Bigg Boss, a reality show on television.
Psychiatrists and sexologists in the city said this was not an isolated case. For the past two weeks, they are getting an increasing number of cases of youngsters watching porn clips in an attempt to know Leone and her work.
"Two days ago, the parents of a 16-year-old girl came to me and complained that their daughter was spending most of her time watching Leone’s porn videos on the Internet. They had installed a software to keep a watch on her internet activities. When they confronted her, she said she was checking who Leone was and ended up watching porn clips. She did not know how and when she got addicted to porn," said Dr Rajan Bhonsle, professor and head of the department of sexual medicines, KEM hospital and GS medical college.
"Ever since news of Leone's participation in Bigg Boss was made public, I have been seeing parents complaining of their children's sudden addiction to porn movies," said Dr Bhonsle. "All the cases have a common point — Sunny Leone. There is so much curiosity about her that people are turning to the Internet to find out more. Since her identity is that of a porn star, people end up watching porn clips."
Leone was born as Karen Malhotra in Ontario, Canada, in May 1981. She has appeared in various reality shows in the US and was named among the world's top 12 porn performers by fashion magazine Maxim in 2010.
Doctors believe organisers of Bigg Boss should have been more careful while introducing someone like Leone. "Bigg Boss is a very popular show and when a person who is otherwise unknown lands up in the house, people are bound to get curious," said child psychiatrist Dr Rajiv Anand who also runs the Rahat child guidance clinic in Andheri.
"I held a workshop in Bhayander on Sunday where parents told me that they were alarmingly distressed and disturbed with their children spending time online to get information on Leone.
Children in the 10-12 age group have excessive curiosity," said Dr Anand. Dr Bhosle agrees. "Though the organisers are trying to hide Leone's identity from the housemates, the media is talking about her status as an adult star and the fact that she is a bisexual," he said.
The Leone phenomenon in India is not only restricted to children. "Even young couples are experiencing marital problems because of her. I dealt with a case in which a husband wanted his wife to behave like Leone after watching the adult star's videos. The wife refused and it led to fights," said Dr Sunay Pradhan, consulting psychiatrist at Masina hospital.
There are others who feel porn addiction among teenagers is normal. "Teenagers watching porn is an age-related issue and a passing phase. As long as they are able to clear their doubts with a matured individual, it is fine. But if it starts affecting the child's studies or life, one should intervene and offer help. Parents need to handle the issue carefully," said senior psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty.
The Leone mania has certainly gripped India and is set to stay asBollywood directors have also expressed a desire to cast her in films.