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In Defense of Veena Malik

November 21, 2010

Much has been made of Veena Malik’s appearance on the fourth season of the Indian edition of reality television show Big Brother. As the show enters its seventh week of a fourteen week process, I thought it would be the right time for me to spring to her valiant defense. I’m nothing if not chivalrous.

Most criticism of Veena’s performance (if you can call living in a house with some strangers a performance) center around three major thrusts:

1)   Veena Malik is embarrassing to Pakistan and Pakistanis

2)   Veena Malik’s overt sexuality is ‘cheap’ and awful

3)   Veena Malik is an idiot

I believe all three of these claims are inaccurate, and will try to refute them one by one.

Veena Malik is Embarrassing to Pakistan and Pakistanis

This is probably my favourite claim since it seems to imply that Pakistan has started sending delegations to reality television shows. If that is the case, I’d like to respectfully ask PEMRA (I suppose they’d have to be in control here) to send me on the next US edition of Survivor. I’ll make sure to make the country proud.

Veena Malik has gone on the show in an individual capacity and not as an ambassador of Pakistan. To borrow political parlance, she’s what we’d call a ‘Non-State Actor’.

That guy who wrenched the flag from an athlete at the opening of the Commonwealth Games? Embarrassing to Pakistan. He went to the Games in an official capacity (a State Actor, if you like), and then made a fool of himself. By extension, the people who appointed him to that position look foolish and should be embarrassed.

Veena Malik? Embarrassing to herself maybe (if you think of it that way). But to the country? No.

Veena Malik’s Overt Sexuality is ‘Cheap’ and Awful

This claim doesn’t entertain me; it just mostly serves to anger me.  The disdain for Veena Malik’s sexuality probably stems from the (fairly widespread) belief that a good Pakistani girl keeps to herself, plaits her hair, and makes some hot roti whenever her husband / father / brother demands. Most importantly, the good Pakistani girl does not mix with men. Even sharing the same oxygen supply with a na-mehram can lead to a shocking pregnancy.

Enter Veena Malik.

Not only is she overtly sexual and seductive, she’s supremely confident about it. She likes a guy, so she goes after him. She likes another one, so she goes after him too. My question is simply why this is considered an inherently bad thing? Why is a confident woman who knows what she wants and works to get it, ‘cheap’?

I contend that it’s not. In a global discourse where the Pakistani woman is seen as a submissive creature with no independence, I’m delighted to have someone like Veena crushing those stereotypes. While always wearing 5 inch heels.

(My implication here is not that this reflects well on Pakistan and therefore is complimentary to the country. Simply, that it shows that there are all kinds of women in Pakistan.)

Veena Malik is an Idiot

No.

Big Brother is a show where you need audience votes to win. No discernible talent is required, so the audience can’t make it’s mind up  based on how well you sing a song for example. Given that Veena Malik has no fan base to speak of in India, the likelihood of her winning is very slim.

Clearly her purpose on the show, then, is to generate buzz for herself in the much larger Indian market. To generate the necessary amount of buzz Veena must accomplish two things: she must stay in the house for as long as possible (exposure), and she must create a complex character that people want to see more of (interest)

On the staying in the house front, I don’t think anyone in there has been nearly as successful as she has. She’s locked down a solid four person alliance, and will extend friendship / flirtation wherever else necessary to ensure that she isn’t nominated.

Similarly, on the complex character front, I believe that Veena has done a better job than anyone else in there. She has created a strange love triangle, has established a rivalry, hasn’t been afraid to stand her ground, and has had plenty of more ‘vulnerable’ moments.

I (somewhat ashamedly) watch far too much reality television. In many ways, Veena ranks among the most interesting and engaging characters I’ve come across. As far as achieving her goal goes, I’d say she’s done pretty well. You’ve got to be somewhat smart to accomplish that.

Her purpose on the show is to entertain. Not to be an ambassador, not to be the archetype of the good girl, and not to join Mensa. On that front, job well done.

Veena Malik will probably get voted out of the show fairly soon. There aren’t many people left on the show, and most have sizable fan bases. Once she does, the show will morph into a bunch of people living in a house, doing chores, and getting along. If that’s your idea of fun viewing that’s great, but I probably won’t be watching anymore.

51 Comments leave one →
  1. chal oiyee permalink
    November 21, 2010 4:12 pm

    What is sad about this whole Veena saga, she was only selected because of her link with Mohd. Asif and because of a silly statement she gave in Indian media. She was already a laughing stock when she joined. She only joined for cheap publicity. Probably thought she could be next Shilpa Shetty. After what happened to her with the Barkha Dutt episode, any sane person would have said NO to a show like that but she is obviously doing it for money and fame.

    • November 21, 2010 6:03 pm

      what’s wrong with money and fame?

      • chal oiyee permalink
        November 21, 2010 6:33 pm

        Kia app bhi cameray kay samney towel giraye gi? Only because it will get you money and some more fan following of totally cheap mentality?

    • November 21, 2010 9:09 pm

      the woman’s an actress. she thrives on drama. what do you expect?
      as for dropping towels, have you seen a Pakistani movie lately?
      talk about double standards😛

      • chal oiyee permalink
        November 22, 2010 12:50 pm

        Woman there is a difference between the audience of big screen and TV.

      • November 22, 2010 1:09 pm

        I’d prefer if in the future you’d refrain from calling people who comment “woman”. Especially, when their name is listed. Thanks.

      • chal oiyee permalink
        November 22, 2010 6:31 pm

        apologies. Munira’s bubble

    • November 24, 2010 6:14 pm

      that’s okay, chal oiyee.
      thanks kalakawa….you proved your chivalry🙂

    • fbh permalink
      January 6, 2011 3:07 pm

      many of the contestants on the show had controversies surrounding them. ali saleem with his cross dressing, abbas kazmi the lawyer for the terrorist, dolly the basket case, ashmit with his mms case, seema the dacoit. Rest of the actors were mostly has-beens or those looking for recognition

  2. November 21, 2010 4:28 pm

    i am quite a regular reader of this blog and likes most of the posts, but this one doesn’t make enough sense. Sorry.

  3. Ugly Shoelace permalink
    November 21, 2010 4:50 pm

    They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. Maybe that will work out for Veena Malik! Isn’t the reality show’s name Big Boss in India? I maybe wrong because I have yet to watch it.

  4. indigenous permalink
    November 21, 2010 5:05 pm

    boht alla!
    thanks for deconstructing the nationalistic narrative of patriarchal sexuality and that too in very accessible language.if it was some male participant from pakistan instead of veena,the response would have been different.
    what makes a man a “stud” makes them a “slut”

    Look at this event on facebook with 5 thousands attending:”throwing eggs at veena malik when she arrives back to pakistan!!!!”

  5. Shahid permalink
    November 21, 2010 5:11 pm

    Thankfully someone talked about not being the ambassador.

  6. sherry permalink
    November 21, 2010 6:03 pm

    I think had an Indian girl done what Veena did or is doing, she wud have been equally reprimanded. Its not about representing the country or anything, its about using ur feminity and “sex appeal” decently and aesthetically, at which Veena’s Indian housemates are doing a very job. But yes i completely agree with the staying in the house and creating her own little space issues. Hats off to her for doing these two and being successufl at them so far. However, she’d still be advised to tone down a bit with that constant hugging and kisssing.

  7. November 21, 2010 6:04 pm

    Brilliant🙂

  8. November 21, 2010 6:16 pm

    I partly agree with most of the parts…
    Actually, as a Pakistani citizen, every person living here is an ambassador…(not official ofcourse)… So that point is wrong… But personally, I don’t find a lot of difference between Pakis and Indians… Except the label of the religion… (there are a very few Pakistanis who indeed follow Islam as it should be followed, no offences to them)
    I personally dislike Veena… I’ve always had… “Hum sab umeed se hain” main bhi…(I don’t know why though)
    About being sexually overt… Islam does not allow anything which happens on movies, television, media… It simply does not allow this thing… But If we criticise this only because she does non-religious stuff on the Indian television show, then this ain’t cool… Watch some of her Pakistani Punjabi Movies… You’ll find much of her body (that she didn’t expose yet on the Big Boss)…
    So there…

    “My question is simply why this(being sexually overt) is considered an inherently bad thing? Why is a confident woman who knows what she wants and works to get it, ‘cheap’?”

    Answer. Because, we are Muslims and our religion forbids us from activities like that… Would you want your sister to be that confident? I hope not…

    May Allah enlighten us all and show us the right path…
    Ameen…

  9. November 21, 2010 8:17 pm

    Hmmm……
    I agree to the initial and later parts of the post…
    that
    a) Veena JI is not an emblem of Pakistani Flag
    and
    b) She is maintaining a sizable success in generating the buzz, and hence not being an idiot as far as her goal is concerned.

    However, I do not believe that your argument of why Veena is NOT cheap is actually relevant. Its not about Veena being cheap in contrast to the image of a typical Pakistani lass, its about being overtly sexually cheap on an absolute scale with total disdain to nationality. She appears frustrated. Pause.

    If I get to choose some tagline for her from this show, its going to be *a throaty tone* “Look, I have been single for one and a half year now!”

    I mean what!!!
    Is this supposed to be a warning?😉

    Well if it is, I hope the men in the house are going to have some pretty good time coming their way!😛

  10. November 21, 2010 9:06 pm

    You just won yourself a detailed doodle for kicking some major biased ass.

  11. Angelos permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:20 am

    Defense offered by author for claim 2 and 3 are RIDICULOUS! Kala Kawa came with cheap and idiotic arguments itself to defend its point.

  12. November 22, 2010 7:14 am

    Loved it. Just when I thought our beloved Veena ji needed a knight, you stepped in. Mighty glad.

    PS: Just learned that Kala kawa is a sign of freemasons. Ab aap bhi Musharraf sahab ke humnawa ho gaye.

  13. November 22, 2010 9:55 am

    I think it is the Arvind Adiga complex. So many headless chicken in the cage trying to hold back the one that wants to escape the coop.
    Pardon my French but in their little minds “hamari kuri aur kukri” is for domestic consumption only.

  14. November 22, 2010 12:00 pm

    While some of your points are pretty valid, I guess to say that Veena is there in the ‘individual capacity’ is to practice the same hypocrisy you advert to in your post. It’s pretty obvious that while she’s there, she is like a guest invited from another country and whether or not she likes it, whether or not it’s ‘official’ or written, she will still be considered ‘the chick from Pakistan’, if not the ambassador of Pakistan!

    • November 22, 2010 12:08 pm

      Pamela Anderson was on the show for a couple of days recently. Would you consider her to be an American ambassador on the show? Whether people perceive her to be an ambassador of the country is entirely unrelated to her motivation and purpose for being on the show. She went there to represent herself, not our society or our country, or whatever collective tag we want to put on her.

      • chal oiyee permalink
        November 22, 2010 12:53 pm

        You cannot compare Pakistan with America. It is the mindset of people in the sub-continent. People believe what watch on television.

  15. November 22, 2010 4:57 pm

    Wake up yaar, Veena has been disgusting to say the least.

  16. November 22, 2010 5:48 pm

    Even sharing the same oxygen supply with a na-mehram can lead to a shocking pregnancy

    ROTFLMAO

  17. Omer permalink
    November 22, 2010 7:21 pm

    I love this post!

  18. adnan permalink
    November 23, 2010 9:38 am

    Dear kalakawa !
    you are the kind of idiot who wants to gain attention by giving a different opinion. Your arguements are as stupid as veena malik is.. the whole house is laughing at her behavior .. seriously you are some big idiot who just know how to write but not what to write..

  19. November 27, 2010 7:01 am

    I concur. But my only issue with Veena Malik is her running after some guy who has said, repeatedly, that he is not interested. Her running after him and her insistence and there be something between them just seems a bit desperate to me. But then again, as you said, she needs to be there for as long as possible so maybe its just an entertainment ploy.
    Either way, I say we take it with a grain of salt and treat it like the reality TV it is instead of getting all huffy about it!

  20. sohni permalink
    November 29, 2010 1:12 pm

    superbbbbb ur ryt kalakawa…..people don bother to lookk thier ownself….. wht they r doing in thier conutry …. n feel it so easy to judge somone else… i don know y ….. !

    well u writing is just superrbbbbb …!

    veena is sweeet

  21. Fareeha permalink
    December 1, 2010 6:19 pm

    I love the post. Finally I find someone who is saying the same thing I have been sayin from day one and fighting over it. She is not representing Muslims or Pakistanis, she is representing herself people!! get over it!

    And what bothers me is that no one seems to be able to go beyond her “sexuality” . She is otherwise a very strong woman and is a great person over all as she is honest and isnt playing crap politics in the house. Pamela Anderson was asked by the host who she would like to stay in touch with, and she said Veena cuz “she is a strong woman and she is an activist”

    Who the f cares who she has chemistry with, she is MORE then that people. get over it!

  22. Sarak Chaap permalink
    December 3, 2010 5:02 pm

    For crying out loud! why cant u people understand the simple fact that veena is a product of the heera mandi? and everything about heera mandi is fake except availability

    • December 3, 2010 7:44 pm

      And your incontrovertible evidence is?

      • Sarak Chaap permalink
        December 4, 2010 3:49 pm

        Obviously it is not possible to post pics of her sitting in the heera mandi which would be the only irrefutable evidence, however, her whole personality amply demonstrates her roots and her consequent randipan

    • Fareeha permalink
      December 15, 2010 8:21 pm

      And your point is what? If she is from Heera Mandi she is less then you classy people?

      You calling her a randi which is an urdu derogatory term for a sex worker does not make you look like a classy intellectual either.

      • SarakChaap permalink
        December 16, 2010 4:56 am

        Who said I am a classy intellectual? and by the way almost all the great writers of English literature made sex workers a topic of some of the great works they did…read Mrs Warren’s Profession by G.B.Shaw, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.

    • fbh permalink
      January 6, 2011 3:01 pm

      as i said character assassination is a national sport in pakistan especially for women. every man and woman tends to label every actress in pakistan as hailing from heera mandi. female political figures (if they are pretty) are accused of sleeping their way up. These people cannot see women outside a conformed role (unless they are very rich and powerful like fatima bhutto in which case they can wear skirts and date and thats ok).

      I say sarak chaap is from heera mandi but I have as much proof as sarak chaap has on veena.

      • Anonymous permalink
        January 7, 2011 1:42 pm

        Character assassination is only possible if someone has character..Veena has no character, how can it be assassinated?

      • SarakChaap permalink
        January 7, 2011 1:55 pm

        Character assassination is only possible if a person has character..Veena has no character, how can it be assassinated?

  23. Wooo permalink
    December 10, 2010 1:44 pm

    Bulshit…..

    Veena is famous because of Pakistan, not because of her own…. I just hate her face i dun know why our people make such kind of people star…… whenever i see her, it gives me a feeling that m seeing a Hijraa……..

    • Sarak Chaap permalink
      December 15, 2010 1:58 pm

      Being Pakistani is just a one aspect of her fame: If she is famous just because she is a Pakistani then all the 18 crore people of Pakistan should be as famous as she is: She looks like a Hijra: that i agree with

      • deedh permalink
        January 10, 2011 2:42 am

        what do u mean by hijra?
        intergendered?

  24. Maryam permalink
    December 30, 2010 4:36 pm

    Great post! At least some people in the country talk sense.

  25. fbh permalink
    January 6, 2011 2:57 pm

    well put! character assassination is pakistan’s national sport. I was watching BB only for veena because she was entertaining. She was funny, sexy, spunky and passionate. Silly at times but she never tried to be who she was not. without her big boss’ ratings went down exponentially. She came across as a darling and out of all the contestants in the house she is the only one I would personally love to have as a friend in real life. As for the religious brigade, first of all there is no such thing as nationalism in islam so the issue of representing your ‘country’ should not even arise. If you dont like it, dont watch it (suspect as to why the overtly religious have indian channels showing bollywood in their house in the first place?). Its obvious the religion argument is being used by those that only use religion as a tool for judging others instead of nurturing their own souls.

    • SarakChaap permalink
      January 7, 2011 1:46 pm

      She also was a negative and evil influence on her best friend or whatever Ashmit..look at the way he changed when she was kicked out of the show and he became himself

  26. deedh permalink
    January 10, 2011 2:40 am

    cliche

  27. deedh permalink
    January 10, 2011 2:44 am

    Yes mr author you are right about one thing
    A KALA KAWWA U R

  28. ayesha permalink
    January 12, 2011 10:45 am

    so many cheapest and more vulgur things happening in our islamic republic of Pakistan, why only blame veena for her actions.
    muslim country me to films bhi nahi banni chahyen. heera mandi ka subko maaloom he usko band karao, karachi ki nepeir road band karao. cheap ghatya stage drame ban hone chahye, cat walks, new year night parties, eid dance parties, ministers ke favourite mujre, kia kuch nahi hota hamare so called islamic mulk me. ek bechari veena malik nazar agai subko only b coz she went and did all that in a indian show.. so sad …

  29. December 2, 2011 9:43 pm

    I don’t know about FHM BUT Veena Malik is a liar, because:

    1- When she went to Big Boss, she openly said that every boy is my “brother”, but then what she did with Ashmit and also other males we all know and saw it

    2-In many programs including Big Boss she said that she will never work for Bollywood but now she is working, she wanted to work for Hollywood but not for Bollywood

    3-She was openly against Muhammad Asif cricketer and said that she has broken all relations with her and so many blames against him, then she came on a press conference with him saying that everything is fine, then again she blamed him, and when Asif got married she was totally disappointed on TV and almost weeping on TV

    4-And now this FHM, ohhhh..

    She is nothing but embarrassment for Muslims, Pakistanis, Women and to her family as well.

    Also visit this relevant blog of such people:
    http://bit.ly/ih92EV

    It’s a great shame that Muslims are dividing themselves in two extremes, one extreme consider everyone as KAFIR and worth of killing (Al Qaida group) the other extreme group is like her really thinks that “SUCCESS OF WEST” is concealed in NUDITY, KISSING & SEX instead of RESEARCH & in EDUCATION?

    There are still more moderates than Taliban or Liberal Talibans.

    http://bit.ly/vCkftY

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