Pakistani actress Veena Malik is suing a popular Indian men's magazine for millions of dollars, accusing it of publishing photos she says were doctored to make her appear nude, her lawyer said Monday.
Malik's racy images in the December issue of FHM India has triggered a fury across her conservative Islamic country, with one cleric calling them a "shame for all Muslims."
The photo essay appears to make light of the military rivalry between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed neighbors who have fought three wars.
In the magazine's cover photo, Malik is shown wearing no clothing, but with her arms and legs discreetly positioned to keep her covered. She has the letters ISI stenciled on her arm, representing Pakistan's powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
In a second photo, she is lying on a camouflage military helmet and in a third she is wearing what appears to be a green ammunition belt and pretending to pull the pin out of a grenade with her teeth. She appears to be topless in those images.
Malik's lawyer, Ayaz Bilawala, denied the nude cover photo was authentic and said Malik was wearing underwear throughout the entire shoot. He sent notice to the magazine and was filing papers in the Mumbai High Court demanding all copies of the magazine be removed from newsstands, he said. The suit was also seeking 100 million rupees ($2 million) in damages.
"She has been cheated, and there has been tampering, and the photographs have been morphed," he said. "She has not posed in the manner in which she has been shown."
He also disputed the magazine's assertion that it possessed a video of the shoot that would prove the photos were real.
FHM India editor Kabeer Sharma insisted the photos were authentic and said he had just come out of a meeting with the magazine's lawyers where they watched the video of the photo session proving his case.
"It's a considered decision on our part not to make that video public because of the nature of the video," he said.
Sharma said the magazine had received the legal notice.
"The allegations are entirely false and we are investigating various options, including a countersuit," he said.
Malik courted controversy last year when she participated in India's "Bigg Boss" reality show, where minor celebrities are locked in a house together. Conservative Pakistani clerics lambasted her both for appearing on a show in arch-rival India and for appearing to canoodle with an Indian actor in the house.
Ravi Nessman can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/ravinessman