PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN -- Weighing close to 200 pounds and clad in a skintight dress, Musarrat Shaheen shimmies and shakes across movie screens to the whistles of her Afghan fans.
Many in the audience are refugees and guerrilla mujaheddin fighters whose own wives and fiances would not be caught outside the house without a head-to-toe Moslem veil.
"The Afghan community is so conservative and so segregated that people need things like Musarrat Shaheen for some kind of relief," said one journalist in Pakistan's frontier town of Peshawar, center of the 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Shaheen is probably the biggest star -- literally and figuratively -- to emerge from Pakistani movie studios making films in Pashtu, the language of the main Afghan tribe, which is widely spoken in the refugee camps.
Like the other female stars of the genre -- which local newspapers call "obscene" -- Shaheen is big, loves to dance, and totally disregards the laws of Islamic propriety.
"I see a man that I like, I take him," she said in one recent movie, whose title, loosely translated, is "Lust for Revenge."
The center of her cult is Peshawar's Sukarno Square, a crowded street of movie theaters where people stare in awe at three-story billboards depicting Shaheen in action.
"People in this province like their women big -- the bigger the better, actually," said the journalist, himself a Pashtun.
"Big bosoms, sturdy thighs, huge buttocks and bulky waistlines" are de rigueur for Pashtu heroines, the weekly magazine Newsline said in a recent report.
With names like "Storm" and "Rage," Shaheen's films reflect the violent ethos that has come to characterize the Afghan community here, where disputes are often settled with a rifle and vengeance is an honored tradition.
The audience usually saves its heartiest applause for Musarrat Shaheen, who bounces into unlikely situations to begin her trademark dance routine.
Shaheen's style, described by one Peshawar fan as "mostly jumping and shrieking," makes the most of her ample figure. Always fully clothed, she struts and preens in tight trousers, flashy blouses and dark sunglasses.
Shaheen's movies play to packed houses. The audience -- all male by Afghan custom -- is frisked for weapons before entering the theater and many customers check for bombs under their seats before sitting down.
Shaheen's success has angered others who say that the seamy titillations in her movies have hijacked traditional cultural values.
One critic, producer Gul Akbar Afridi, has tried to counter the trend by making films based on historical stories, which were the staple of the industry in its early years in the 1970s.
However, Musarrat Shaheen looks difficult to dislodge.
Despite the protestations of "obscenity," many theater owners seem to feel that the ability to sell tickets at two to three times normal prices outweighs moral considerations.