By: Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: Morality and the use of morphing technology to distort or transform: these were the issues a day after actress Veena Malik found herself mired in yet another controversy over her depiction by FHM, a Mumbai-based magazine.
In talk with Dawn on Saturday, Ms Malik denied having posed for the magazine as nude, even though she did admit to having agreed to be photographed with an ISI tattoo. She reconfirmed her plans to sue FHM whose editor has claimed he had email messages and other evidence such as video footage to prove that it was a genuine shoot.
“I don’t deny having done a ‘bold’ shoot for the magazine. I never posed as nude,” the actress, who is in India right now, told Dawn by telephone. She maintained that compuertised morphing — which has been in use for more than 25 years — had been employed by the FHM to get the desired results.
About the ‘objectionable’ use of the acronym, ISI, she said it was FHM editor Kabir Sharma’s idea: “It was his pun on an Indian obsession with associating everything with ISI,” she said.
Ms Malik did not answer directly the question just how much she had exposed in the shoot or the tattoo as and where it
appeared in print was genuine, but said the “morphed image” on the cover of FHM’s latest issue was obviously an attempt to get publicity through scandalising at a time when her latest show with an Indian television channel was about to go on air.
She asked the magazine’s editor to come up with the video footage that he says proves her consent for a bare-all exposure – saying that the mail Sharma talks about only acknowledged an agreement for a shoot and not one in which she was supposed to pose nude.
As Veena Malik declared her intentions to go to court, she was faced with seething anger in Pakistan. This was not an incident simply involving an individual and the morals she worked by but was open to be looked upon as an unpatriotic gesture that embarrassed Pakistan on Indian soil.
Ms Malik is known for her ability to shock. Many years ago she had been ‘accused of’ posing nude for a Lahore-based photographer in the early part of her showbiz career. Some time later she kicked up a storm over her ‘unacceptable’ exposure in an advertisement.
In more recent times she has been in the news for her attacks on Muhammad Asif, the disgraced and currently jailed Pakistan cricketer who once had an affair with Ms Malik and for her participation in the last year’s edition of the Indian reality show, Big Boss.
On its part, this is not the first time the FHM magazine has been blamed for morphing images to forward its business. Only in September this year, the magazine found itself in the middle of a row over the publication of pictures that depicted upcoming actress Kajal Agarwal in a topless pose. “Kajal who arrived in B-town with the smashing success of Singham, had done a photo shoot for the magazine, but her fabricated topless picture was published on the cover, thereby tarnishing her image,” reported Deccan Chronicle in a story that can be accessed on the Internet.
However, the same Indian journal said “people in the industry feel that it is a publicity stunt to attract more offers from the Hindi cinema industry.”