By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, March 30 (IANS) If all goes well, Pakistan's hottest export to India Veena Malik will be seen at Mohali Wednesday with soulmate Ashmit Patel by her side cheering for her country at the cricket World Cup semifinal featuring the two countries.Veena who loves cricket and cricketers is at the moment divided in her love for actor Ashmit and the game.
She is in India to be part of two cricket shows on Indian television.
"Some people compare me to Mandira Bedi. But I am happy being who I am. I love cricket, though commenting on it is not something I thought I would do. But life is such. You never knew where it takes you," Veena said.
At the moment it is off to Mohali for Veena where she will be sharing seating space (so to speak) with her country's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani watching the two countries playing a game that unites both sides even at the time of infinite stress and discord.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also watch the game with his Pakistani counterpart.
Veena is very sure about where her loyalties lie.
"It's very simple, really. My heart says I should support Pakistan at the match. It has given me my identity and all I have. India, on the other hand, has given me so much love and fabulous career opportunities."
So how will the saucy temptress who has defiantly thrown off the burqa, cope with the main 'idhar-jaaon-yaa-udhar-jaaon' dilemma?
"The Indian team is a favourite to win the Cup. But I am Pakistani. So I will paint the Pakistan flag on one cheek and the Indian flag on the other cheek. And may the best team win on Wednesday," said the actor.
Veena does have her favourites among the cricketers from both sides.
"Yuvraj and Afridi both play from the heart and believe in playing fair cricket. No one can buy their loyalties. I'm a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar, but only when he isn't playing against Pakistan," she said.
And Veena bursts into loud laughter.
Her other entertainer-colleague from Pakistan, pop star Ali Zafar is not quite a cricket fiend.
Though he was not available for comment and would not be in the country to watch the match Wednesday, a source close to Ali said, "Ali isn't into politics or cricket. Music is his life. And now he's into acting. He would like to keep his art free of politics and the politics of cricket. But yes he does equally enjoy watching the maestros of both the teams doing their thing on the field."
For Adnan Sami who has made Mumbai his home for 10 years now the situation gets tricky.
He has close ties with Pakistan and the Pakistani prime minister and has chosen to stay away from the match to avoid his loyalty being questioned.
Not that Adnan's loyalty is under inspection. Says the super-gifted musician, "I'm only remotely interested in cricket as a sport and find it ludicrous to give it a political connotation. Pakistani or Indian, we should treat the match as a game."