MUMBAI: Zaira Wasim does not think of herself as a full-time actor.
Even after the Dangal actor also got positive reviews for her work in Secret Superstar, she has no plans for turning acting into her sole career just yet.
Hindustan Times reports that Zaira, who grew up in Kashmir, says she did not grow up watching Bollywood films and had no desire of becoming an actor.
“I still do not know if I’m going to become an actress in the future as a serious full-timer, but every time when I act, I try to deliver my best. Both the films that I have done offer beautiful stories,” said the 16-year-old..
Zaira still became a real life secret superstar after auditioning for Dangal.
Remembering the experience, Zaira says, “I did not go there with any expectation, but with a curious mind to explore and know what is acting and how they audition. Rest was a process and I think I am one of the luckiest children who got the best opportunity. And then working with AK (Aamir Khan) twice… I am blessed.”
Aamir Khan has been in both Dangal and Secret Superstar and Zaira admires how he made sure to never overshadow her performance. But that also means her newfound fame and recognition is ‘overwhelming’.
“They look at me with so much love and affection and appreciate me for my work! What could be more overwhelming than this?” But despite the critical acclaim and success, Zaira doesn’t let her celebrity status define who she is.
Meeting with Mehbooba
Zaira Wasim, who shot to fame for her portrayal of the young Geeta Phogat in Dangal, issued an “open confession/apology” on Monday, after she faced massive criticism for meeting Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday. “I want to apologise to all those I’ve unintentionally hurt… I understand their sentiments, especially considering what has happened [in Kashmir] over the past six months,” she said in a statement issued on Twitter.
The young actor was referring to the state of unrest in the Valley since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. “I hope people still remember that I’m just a 16 year old girl and I hope you treat me accordingly… I really hope people can forgive me,” she said, adding that it was not a “deliberate decision”.
Wasim further urged people to not project her as a “role model for the Kashmiri youth”. “I want everyone, especially the youth, to know that there are real role models out there. To even consider me as a role model would be disgracing them,” she said.
Geeta Phogat, the wrestler who won India’s first gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, has supported Wasim. Phogat told a television news channel that Wasim was an excellent role model for the whole country and that she did not need to apologise. Wasim has also garnered support from politicians, including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.
Later Zaira Wasim came under fire after a photo of her meeting Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti surfaced on Saturday. She immediately apologised on social media saying, “I want to apologise to all those I’ve unintentionally hurt… I want to make it very clear that I do not want anyone to follow in my footsteps or even consider me as a role model.”
The young actor regretted her ‘recent actions’ due to the state of unrest in Kashmir since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. However, her film co-star Aamir Khan was of a different opinion.
In a Facebook upload, the Bollywood actor stood up for Zaira and asked her critics to “leave her alone and respect the fact that she is just a 16-year-old girl” He added that Zaira was in fact “a role model for kids not only in India, but across the world. You certainly are a role model for me!”
Zaira’s apology post was widely shared by Indian news channels and publications after which she promptly deleted it and shared another note, which followed the same fate and was deleted. “This post was not meant against anyone, just wanted to make sure that people were not hurt by what I was doing,” she had wrote.