December 18, 2011

I am still in Mumbai: Veena Malik

Mumbai/Islamabad (PTI): Actress Veena Malik today denied reports that she had quietly returned to Pakistan following her nude photo shoot controversy, saying she was resting in a suburban Mumbai hotel to recover from exhaustion.

Against the backdrop of reports that she had mysteriously disappeared, Veena said she had changed her hotel in Mumbai and switched off her mobile phone as she wanted to rest. She told Geo News channel that she had been feeling unwell after working for up to 18 hours a day.

The 33-year-old actress said she was now staying at the Oakwood Hotel in Mumbai, a fact confirmed by the local police. Veena's conversation with Geo News marked her first contact with anyone in two days.

Earlier, speculative media reports on both sides of the border had claimed Malik had crossed over to Pakistan via the Wagah land border. The reports further claimed the actress, wearing a burqa, had crossed the frontier on foot.

But the police confirmed today that the actress is very much in Mumbai. "Veena Malik is in Oakwood hotel. She has registered by her real name Zahida and she has all the papers. She was unwell for a couple of days," Machendra Bodke of Juhu police station told media persons.

Malik went "missing" two days ago after returning from a film shoot in Mumbai. Her manager Pratik Mehta told the media that her cell phone was turned off.

The actress, who has been in and out of India for film and reality shows, was shooting 'Mumbai 125 kilometres' in Goregaon and left the shoot midway, saying she was not well.

However, the police said that there was no missing person's complaint registered in this connection.

Some reports had suggested that Malik had returned to Pakistan to renew her Indian visa but sources close to the actress said her visa was valid till December 24.

The actress' family in Islamabad said it had no information about her whereabouts. Malik was recently criticised by hardliners and extremists in Pakistan for appearing topless on the cover of FHM India magazine with the letters ISI painted on her arm.

She filed a suit against FHM India, claiming damages worth Rs 100 million, while the magazine counter-sued her for Rs 250 million.

After finishing this movie, Veena is also slated to appear on Imagine TV's reality show 'Swayamvar', where she will be searching for her 'Mr Right'.