NEW DELHI: Pakistani actress Veena Malik has filed a defamation suit against an Indian magazine for a “morphed” cover photo of her posing nude with the initials of Pakistan's intelligence agency on her arm.
Malik's spokesman, Sohail Rasheed, said on Monday that the actress was seeking 100 million rupees in damages from FHM India, whose editor insists the cover shoot was genuine and consensual.
“The picture has been morphed,” Rasheed said in Islamabad, adding that the magazine had targeted Malik's “credibility and character”.
The magazine's December issue has yet to hit news stands. But a preview of the cover on its website triggered a media frenzy.
FHM India editor Kabeer Sharma told AFP at the weekend that he was mystified by Malik's allegations.
“Maybe she is facing some kind of backlash, so maybe that's why she is denying it.
“We have not photoshopped or faked the cover. This is what she looks like, she has an amazing body,” Sharma said.
In his Twitter feed on Monday, Sharma said he would release a series of photos from the shoot proving his version of the story.
While Malik's pose on the cover preserves a scant degree of modesty, any nudity is still very much frowned upon in conservative India - and indeed in Pakistan.
What has raised more eyebrows was her arm sporting the initials ISI - the acronym for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency.
Sharma said the idea had been to take an ironic swipe at India's obsession with the ISI.
A tag line on the cover that points to the initials, reads: “Hand in the end of the world too?"
"People, especially young people in both countries, want to move past this kind of thinking," the editor said.
“It's a very powerful picture - it took a lot of guts for her to do that. It shows a powerful, sexy woman not afraid to speak her mind."
Malik is already well known in India for appearing on “Bigg Boss”, the country's version of the television reality show “Big Brother”.