Veena Malik is no fool!

Published: January 28, 2011
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She wasn't wearing mascara; did she know she was going to cry?

Veena Malik’s appearance on Bigg Boss 4 and her current interview on Express News has been the subject of many a cushy drawing room debate.  Liberals everywhere are incensed by the mufti sahab who did not even watch Bigg Boss and yet was quick to pass judgement on Malik.

Fair enough.  Malik’s supporters have rushed to Facebook to give her a big thumbs up and cheer their ‘hero’ on.  Veena takes on mullah and wins, they scream.

Now we all know that this was pretty much a setup. Kamran Shahid pitched Malik against a mufti and then called Ashmit Patel who made some asinine comments about Malik and yoga. This is an example of masala television at its best and off the chart ratings for all concerned. And as a disbelieving friend pointed out, “She wasn’t wearing mascara, she knew she was going to cry?” (who would’ve thought). Shahid, of course, was anything but neutral, he knew his audience well and played to it.

Who asked the misogynist?

What annoyed me was Shahid’s sermon to Malik at the tail end of the show. He closed the show by reprimanding the entertainer and telling her that if she had asked for his advice he would have told her not to go to India in the first place. America, maybe, India no way.

I wonder if Shahid has passed his kernels of wisdom to, say, Atif Aslam? Ali Zafar? Rahat Fateh Ali Khan? Strings? I am sure he has been warning all of them against crossing borders and getting their hands on that fat pay check. If it smells like sexism and looks like sexism, well then it must be sexism. One thing is clear, if Shahid is given three times his pay in bad old India, he is not hopping the border.

India pays better

Malik recently said in a print interview that the money she made in India in three months is what she makes in Pakistan in one year.  Bingo! The sad truth is that we want to be entertained but we’d really like our entertainers to do it for free, thanks very much. India is a bigger entertainment market and with the flagging movie industry in Pakistan, a lot of Pakistani talent will shift across borders to make a living.  Is there anything wrong with that? Doctors move to Saudi Arabia to get lucrative positions. Professionals move to the UK and US to earn precious foreign currency.  So why can’t a Veena Malik or a Meera? Why shouldn’t entertainers travel to get better paid work? If you want our actresses to be donning dupattas and playing nice on telly, pay them big bucks and I’m sure they will be willing to do it. And let’s see how many YouTube hits that gets. Networks, are you listening?

Use the remote

As for Malik’s antics being a blow to Pakistani womanhood, I am sure that blow is not lethal. Just as Britney Spears and Aishwariya Rai do not represent their country’s women when they are playing a role, neither does Malik. This is television, it’s fiction, remember? Malik does not represent all the women in this country.  She is an actress who went to another country for a job and in no way was representing a nation. She represents what the viewers want to see, and is a prime example of ‘what the market wants, our entertainers deliver’.

If you don’t like what you see, the solution is very simple.

Get off that couch and switch the TV off.

saeed.rahman

Saeed Rahman

A senior sub-editor for the Lahore pages of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.