Veena Malik was born on 26 February 1978 in Bhakar, to Ali Malik, a Pakistan Army soldier, and his wife, Zeenat Malik. The family settled in Rawalpindi after her birth. Her grandmother named her Zahida, but her family insisted on keeping Veena as her first name. Her father often remained away from home, so she was brought up by her grandmother and mother until she was in her late teens when her grandmother died. Malik grew up expressing an interest in joining the film industry and her grandmother decided to encourage her. Her father however disliked the idea and pondered over his daughter's fate in an industry that was deemed unsuitable for girls in Pakistan and initially resisted his daughter's attempts to pursue a career in entertainment. However, she continued to receive support from her grandmother despite the disapproval of many family members.
Veena, 4th from right, at the launch of her film, Mohabbatan Sachiyan at the Gulistan Cinema, Lahore.
In 2003, Malik appeared in Indo-Pak cross venture Punjabi film Pind Di Kuri which failed to do so well, however, the film turned out be the first Indo-Pak venture film with a budget of approximately 70 million rupees. She also appeared in Askari's Sassi Punno (2003) alongside Sana and Moammar Rana, however the film failed to do well at Lahore's cinemas and further screenings had stopped in cinemas after a week of its release. She then appeared in Rafique's Jageer, which was considered a flop at the box office.
In 2005, she appeared in Punjabi short film "Bau Badmash" (2005) which didn't garner any recognition due to the lack of big stars. She then appeared in Khan's Koi Tujh Sa Kahan (2005) which was a commercial success in Pakistan.
She continued to appear in many films such as Wapsi (2006), Packton Yaar (2006), Sozam Peh Angar (2006) and Anjaam (2007), however neither of these films made a mark in Pakistani cinema. In 2007, she won her first Lux Style Award for being the most stylish celebrity on the red carpet.
In 2008, Malik appeared in Rafique's Punjabi film, Mohabbatan Sachiyan, alongside ex-fiancee Babrik Shah and newcomers Maria Khan and Adnan Khan. The film went on to become a commercial success. The same year, she appeared in Raza's Kabhi Pyaar Na Karna in a supporting role, but the film was a flop. Her last film of 2008 was Altaf's Ishq Beparwah which also failed to impress the audience.
In 2010, she worked in Rafique's Main Jeena Tere Naal, and Beyg's debut comedy film Miss Duniya.
Malik has usually been cast as a supporting actor. It is unclear if she herself stayed clear of the leading roles or was denied them. Industry enthusiasts say that the only genre she was good at was 'comedy' and the directors failed to create a leading role around her acting skills. The criticism was taken well by her and she began to hone her skills even more in comedy.
In 2002, she was called by Prime TV to host a show called Prime Gupshup for them ushering a new direction for her comedic skills and she improvised on the hour-long show occasionally mimicking actors. The show's format was such a great success added with the charisma that she brought with her, resulting in offers from various other channels as well. She hosted the Geo TV show Hum Sub Umeed Say Hain, in which she was hailed for her comedic parodies.
In 2007, she graced the red carpet event of the Lux Style Awards and was awarded as being the ‘most stylish celebrity on the carpet’.
She currently resides in Karachi. Early in 2008, rumours of her suffering a heart-attack were revealed to be exaggerations, and she was diagnosed instead with a mildly serious form of tachycardia. In an interview, she described her turmoil during the time of her illness. It was subsequently reported that she prepared her will, and entrusted it to her sister.
In 2009, media reports revealed that Malik has married cricketer, Mohammad Asif in a court in London, England. However, this was denied by both of them, despite pictures revealing there affection towards each other. Later, Asif got married to Sana Hilal in Lahore on 2 March 2010.
Scandals and controversies
What appeared to be her nude pictures were being circulated on the Internet and became an issue of debate by the end of 2001. She repeatedly denied the accusations saying she never appeared in any photo shoots of such kind. The controversies were short-lived but boosted Veena's appeal in the industry.
She was accused in 2004 of being involved in indecent acts by one of her co-stars. After filming a cross-border venture with Bollywood named Pind Di Kuri, actress Sheeba Butt added, “That is what her real character is like. It is a matter of disrespect for us.” This came after Veena's comments that Sheeba's acting etiquette ‘had tarnished the image of Pakistan by causing a loss’ of 70,000 rupees to the Indian Punjabi producer Iqbal Singh Dhillon for which Veena claims she had to compensate for from her own pocket.
In April 2010, it was widely speculated in the media, that Malik provided escort services to cricketer Mohammad Asif in 2008, for which she demanded a large sum of around 13 Million PKR ($153,000) and wanted to escalate the claim to court. Later, she served a legal notice on Asif, after two cheques he gave her to settle the outstanding amount were bounced.