A while ago, yet another TV show brought Pakistan’s most famous and at the same time controversial actress Veena Malik on screen with the same clichéd topic: whether what she did while in India (considered as Pakistan’s traditional/arch rival) was appropriate. During the show, Veena told about her vegetarianism. And it was news!
Hosted by the once popular TV anchor Nadia Khan, the show pitted Veena Malik against the public and had a panel of guests including her ex Babrak Shah, a mainly Pashtu film actor. Clearly planned to use the same “angry” people questioning Veena’s controversial photo shoot to engage the audience, Nadia Khan’s show wasted most of the time with people asking stupid questions and making silly comments about the actress who was featured in every major media source after her cover image controversy for FHM late last year. Veena, as usual, grandiloquently defended her rights as an independent woman and showbiz star. Then came a couple of questions which finally allowed the audience to look at the bright side of the actress.
First, in reference to an up-and-coming reality show in which Veena will be choosing her life partner, the show host asked her about the possibility of a Non-Muslim man winning the show and getting eligible to have her hand in marriage. Would it be acceptable for her to marry a man not a Muslim by faith? Boldly, openly, and maturely, Veena reminded the host that she did not believe in holding religion as the basis of a love relationship.
“When you really fall in love, all else is left behind,” said Veena, smiling affably. “But given that we do have social obligations, I am sure we will figure something out that will be acceptable to all parties in such a situation.”
The camera didn’t show the audience at this time, let alone a chance offered a few of them to comment on how they saw Veena’s view of a relationship beyond religious prejudice. Surely, it would too much for the show and the TV channel to allow positive feedback from the audience when religious prejudice and claim to a celebrity as a possession of the Pakistan nation were at stake. But then, Veena further surprised the audience and the host when asked about the news that she has gone vegetarian. She answered that she did as she has joined PETA.
Indeed it was last year that she posed for PETA ads. She told Nadia Khan that she was moved by documentaries showing the cruel treatment of animals and their suffering because of the meat industry. This was what made her adopt vegetarianism.
“Animals have as much right as us to live on this planet,” said Veena. “Animals are the beauty of this planet and we should respect their right to live.”
Again, no discussion on the vegetarian life of the country’s most in-news actress was attempted. In a culture, where religion and cuisine can’t live without slaughter, this again was a point the conformist media and public wouldn’t welcome.
Still, Veena’s message, while brief, was aired and it reached millions at least some of whom will hopefully be able to appreciate the bright side of her personality. On tonight’s show, Veena Malik made her appearance as a beauty beyond the body.