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Pakistani actress: I posed topless, not nude for FHM

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
updated 5:26 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Veena Malik appeared in FHM wearing only one thing: a tattoo on her arm bearing the initials ISI
  • Malik said FHM doctored the photographs to show her without clothes on
  • But FHM India says Malik knew the terms all along and approved the photos

(CNN) -- The Pakistani actress featured in a racy cover shot in the December edition of a men's magazine in India told CNN she posed topless but not completely naked.

Veena Malik appeared on the cover of the Indian edition of FHM wearing only one thing: a tattoo on her arm bearing the initials ISI, the acronym for Pakistan's infamous Inter-Services Intelligence agency -- causing a stir in her conservative homeland.

Malik said FHM doctored the photographs to show her without clothes and has now revealed plans to sue the publication.

"I admit that I have done a bold shoot," she said, "but I was not nude. There is a big difference between topless and being nude.

"You will see various shoots here in the Bollywood industry where the actresses actually went topless but they were covered like the way I was."

In a telephone call with CNN, Malik said she had declined an offer a couple of months ago by an "international (media) agency" to pose nude for a fee but agreed to do a shoot for FHM India instead -- and without charges -- because it was a "personality" shoot.

"What I have lost is priceless," she said.

But FHM India says Malik knew the terms all along and approved the photos. The publication is even demanding a public apology and has threatened to counter-sue Malik for defamation.

"She was completely aware of the cover," said FHM editor Kabeer Sharma. "She was completely aware of the concept. She loved the concept."

She was completely aware of the concept. She loved the concept.
FHM editor Kabeer Sharma

Malik denies this.

Lawyer Ayaz Bilawala told CNN that Malik is seeking $1.9 million in damages, saying the magazine "cheated" his client and doctored the nude pictures.

In a legal notice served to the magazine, Malik contends that it was Sharma's idea for her to wear the painted on ISI tattoo; she was told it would be good for her image.

In another photo, which was originally slated for the cover, she is shown holding a grenade in her right hand.

FHM published the grenade photo inside, with a line plastered across it: "The cover we didn't use."

Malik said the shoot was supposed to create positive feelings, not negative ones. She added that the controversy has affected her family, particularly her father.

"He did not speak to me. He spoke to one of the media groups and like he was (crying), I mean he was too upset ... Okay I mean I don't blame him for that."

But the actress and model is no stranger to controversy.

She triggered uproar two years ago when she claimed that her former boyfriend, Pakistani cricketer Mohammed Asif, was involved in spot-fixing international matches. Asif was found guilty last month in an English court.

A year later, the actress came under fire from Pakistani clerics who decried her behavior in the Indian reality TV show "Big Boss," as "un-Islamic."

"I am not a perfect Muslim or a perfect person, but I haven't committed a crime, and unfortunately things like this are part and parcel of the industry I work in," Malik said.

Still, she downplayed her criticism back home.

"I am not bothered about what they think," she said. "My fans and many Pakistanis support me and believe (in) me."

Harmeet Shah Singh reported from New Delhi and Shaan Khan reported from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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