The highly-publicised legal struggle between reality star Veena Malik and FHM India magazine has a new participant who claims that he knows the ugly truth behind the highly combustible controversy. Mumbai-based fashion designer and stylist Umair Zafar, who has done several shoots with photographer Vishal Saxena, spilled the beans on the Veena Malik-FHM cover shoot controversy reports timesofindia.com.
An article posted on the Times of India website quotes Zafar as saying, “A few days before the FHM cover was out, photographer Vishal Saxena told me to be prepared for a big dhamaka. Veena Malik did the shoot topless with her hands covering the upper part of her body. She was wearing bikini lowers, which was later on morphed and removed electronically by photographer Vishal Saxena. All this was predecided and agreed upon by all concerned parties.”
However the editor of FHM India, Kabeer Sharma, says that he has never even heard of Zafar let alone worked with him or let him into one of the company’s alleged top secrets. “Random people do such things to seek attention and publicity. The only sensible reaction to such people is to ignore whatever they have to say.”
Zafar, on the other hand, adds that to save face and avoid repercussions in both Pakistan and India yet avail all of the publicity Veena Malik and FHM magazine had a thought-out plan in which Malik would send a defamation notice to the magazine and the magazine would in turn would then send her a counter-notice. “The entire episode had been meticulously planned by Veena Malik, photographer Vishal Saxena and FHM magazine representatives.”
According to Zafar, photographer Sharma specialises in nude shoots and has done several such shoots with Sherlyn Chopra, Priya Soni and the photos are easily available on the internet. He believes that creating hype for Malik’s upcoming reality show on Imagine channel “Veena Malik Ka Swayamvar” seems like the only reason behind this risky media game. “Vishal told me that she wanted a big blast. A huge dhamaka that would catapult her to the top of the charts and make her a household name in India. She wanted the big bucks and was ready to do anything for it,” Zafar states.
Malik, who is changing her statements continuously, finally accepted that she wasn’t “nude”, she was “topless and there is a difference between the two”. This statement sent waves in the media and editor Sharma retorted, “(I’m) not commenting. She is the one who is not being able to make up her mind. She needs to figure out what she needs to say.”
Zafar’s article on timesofindia.com cost him a friend as according to the stylist, Sharma called him on December 11 and expressed displeasure over the quotes Zafar has given to the media. When The Express Tribune inquired if Zafar has any proof or evidence of his conversations with Sharma, the stylist says, “Everyone knows me in India. Nobody asked for evidence, because they know my words have weightage.”
Zafar adds that, “Sharma has been doing nude and semi-nude photos since seven to eight years, this one gained attention and has turned into a juicy story because it has a Pakistani in it.”
The stylist said that he contacted the media and revealed the real picture as he thought it was unfair to use these means to gain popularity.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2011.