Veena ki jawani

Na tezi, na dum, aiwein bharum, exclaims an extremely irate Veena Malik in a done-to-death chai ad. The ad was done many years ago, but the girls convictions are still the same.

You can interpret that any way you want to.

But people are just jealous. And why wouldnt they be? Veena is the kind of girl who lends herself to easy objectification. Moves like an item girl, stings like an ex-girlfriend scorned and can actually tell a joke to save her life, if it comes down to that. I mean, think about it, what hasnt this girl done? Artistic *ahem ahem* photo-shoots, raunchy TV ads, theatre and item numbers in theatres, small screen, big screen, comedy shows, and most recently, reality shows and item numbers (or item numbers in reality shows, whatever works for you). So I guess she could be forgiven for having an ego the size of a small country.

Shes not afraid of controversy either. In fact, I think she kinda enjoys it. And when the going gets tough, Veena really gets going. According to the online tabloids, she has already been linked with someone named (rather unfortunately) Babrak; the dopey spot-fixer Asif; and someone called Faisal Akbar Khan. Some even say the latter is engaged to our voluptuous vixen. But I refuse to believe Veena can be tamed by a lesser mortal. I mean, just Google him. Youll be asking yourself the same question I was; Who is this guy? Did someone forget to call security or what?

Love her or hate her, Pakistans oomph girl has been in the news for the past year or so, for one reason or the other. Be it disclosures regarding Dopeys inadequate assets (financial and otherwise) or revelations regarding match-fixing and their fixers, Veena has never been one to shy away from the limelight. Admittedly, shes not the sharpest or the subtlest tool in the shed. But then, shes not supposed to be. I mean, scandals are what celebrities are for, arent they. From what Ive heard, the casting couch is hardly the beginning, and the average actress has to be linked to at least five men simultaneously in order to merit a single-column news item. And being relatively successful at what she does, Veena has made a habit out of rubbing people the wrong way. And shes good at it too.

You can interpret that any way you want too.

But lets cut to the chase. So she went to India to star in a reality show. Isnt it bad enough that the only Pakistani company she had on the show was Begum Nawazish Ali? The poor girl probably couldnt even decide whether she and Ali Saleem were girlfriends or just plain friends. What do you expect a girl to do? Even successful actresses want to cut loose sometimes. So she had a little fun on a reality show, whats the big deal. Like the woman said, I didnt do nothing I aint done before, and it aint like you all never seen this stuff on TV before. And I agree with her.

So to those trying to crucify the wee lass, including the Raufs and the Kamrans of primetime TV fame, I say this; it is you and not Miz Malik that has crossed the line this time. One might even say youve crossed the Front Line. Gettit? I didnt think so either.

The saddest part of this whole episode is not the deplorable stance being taken up by our hypocritical media. (which becomes liberal when confronted with women who have been on the receiving end of societys wrath in the shape of vani or honour killing, but reverts back to its right-wing fundamentalist MMA-self as soon as a woman starts talking back to men). The fact that Syed Noor and Co have come out of the woodwork and, after donning their beards, have proceeded to contradict everything the entertainment industry has ever stood for (artistic freedom were the words you were looking for Veena) is irrelevant. That the hypocrisy of the Well-get-behind-any-cause-that-lets-us-join-from-home people of this sorry state has been exposed is not breaking news either. No, dear patriots, the sad, ugly and multi-million rupee truth of the matter is that while you were busy ogling Veena on (illegal) cable channels and then being outraged about it, Mr Saxena of Indian Fat Cats R Us and his partners were making money by the minute. The more you watched, the more money landed in their pockets. So thanks to you all, Indian channels just hit the jackpot in Pakistan. Way to go!

And Mr Talk Show Host, for next week, why not try debating whether Muhammad Asif should be allowed to work in Bigg Boss season 5. Lets see how much rating that show gets.

The writer is a broadcast journalist.

Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

The writer is a journalist currently working in the development sector. Tweets at: @mightyobvious_



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