Against the green backdrop of Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh, Sunny Leone struts in a red bikini against a large vegetable field. As intended, she is the center of attention. Chenchu Reddy of Banda Kindi Palle village is not a great fan of the Indian-American porn-star-turned-Bollywood-actor, but her poster shields his bumper crop of cauliflower and cabbage from the ‘evil eye’ of her neighbors.
‘I have a good crop on 10 acres this year. It has been attracting unnecessary attention from villagers and passersby. I thought of the idea of putting up a large flax poster of Sunny Leone a couple of days ago to ward off their evil eye,’ he said on Tuesday.
In Telugu, the post reads: ‘Orey, nannu chusi edavakura (Hey, don’t feel jealous of me). Leone’s strategy seems to be working and he is diverting attention away from his field. The trick worked. No one is looking at my crop anymore,’ Reddy said. Farmers in the countryside often use straw-filled scarecrows topped with upside-down clay pitchers to scare away birds or put scary dolls – called ‘bommalu’ in Telugu – to protect themselves from evil spirits.
In rural Andhra Pradesh, demons drawn on metal plates or pumpkins are set up as ‘dishti bomma’ or evil eye dolls in front of homes and near farms. There’s no doubt that seeing an actor in a bikini-clad poster is a first. According to the farmer, he has not broken any indecency laws and does not care if agriculture officials or police find the visual objectionable. ‘The officials never come to our fields to learn about our problems. Why should they object?’ he asked.