Two things happened in life side by side for me. One side there were reports that Zaira Wasim was quitting Bollywood because there was a clear contradiction between her career and her religion. Back home there were reports that next time you go to Bada Imambara you will have to dress up well so that you do not look or seem to violate the set regressive thought that pervades a certain section of people. In a country where we all have equal right to speak, if a Mohua Mitra has the right to speak up with immense force, so does Zaira who has achieved something if not a lot in the industry.
There are reports that the there were Fatwas issued against the actress but I guess the problem starts when we start dictating a woman’s choices. Who decides what a 20 plus girl should do with her life. Why should people call her ungrateful. At 20 something maybe she is not good enough a chooser of words but I guess the intent is not to harm.
Does it behove of the senior tribe in the industry and the illuminati to give her lectures on how she is a product of Bollywood and her whole soul identity is nothing but that. The fact that an actress was handpicked by perfectionist Aamir Khan and she rose the ladder should be a great thing.
The fact that a girl from the valley dares to chase dreams out of a strife torn region. The fact that she comes to Mumbai, she rules and conquers hearts that is the biggest thing in life. Whether Bollywood is unIslamic is not the debate, whether she does wrong by writing online a message is not the debate, the debate should be on why we shamelessly amplify the Islamic credentials of the actress taking a cue from the letter.
How many of those giving her lectures and certificates have actually reached out and helped the girl when she needed a moral boost when she needed it the most. The comparisons with Nusrat Jahan do not hold water. One is a politician, the other a star. And more importantly Zaira Wasim is one independent individual.
Does not sound nice to compare two diametrically opposite individuals. Just because yesteryears stars Saira Banu, Waheeda Rehman, Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Shahrukh or an AR Rahman did not feel threatened does not mean that Saira cannot. More than a generation gap, the industry and its working has seen a seachange and society at large too has increased pressure on what is ok and what is not. And today threats fly thick and fast.
The Tarek Fatah’s, the Swami Chakrapani’s and those issuing Fatwas can hence find something better to do. As a citizen of this great nation I think it is much more than religion or politics. It is about someone’s personal choices and aspirations. Let her have the last laugh in the loudest way possible.
Heated TV debates and twitter gyanbaazi needs to stop because it is a 23 year old’s life and why dissect her choices and decisions in public domain.
In a crystal clear letter that Zaira Wasim putout justifying her decision, she mentions, “For a very long time now it has felt like I have struggled to become someone else. As I had just started to explore and make sense of the things to which I dedicated my time, efforts and emotions and tried to grab hold of a new lifestyle, it was only for me to realise that though I may fit here perfectly, I do not belong here.”
Very simply, she says, “I am not truly happy with this identity i.e the line of work”.
It is even more important for us to respect Zaira because eight out of 10 employees in the country are not happy with their work as per surveys.
Its common. A dislike stems from long hours, low pay, an unsupportive boss, lack of recognition, no scope for promotions, work-life balance, sheer boredom says a report.
Such people crib, complain, evade work and make mistakes.
Flexibility and choice are two most important things says a Gallup report.
It would not be wrong to say that we as a nation and the Bollywood industry failed her because in 2016 after photos of Zaira Wasim surfaced with trimmed hair for Dangal she faced a massive online backlash. She was repeatedly branded un – Islamic. Her meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti too attracted the ire of the common folk with her receiving death threats. Her apologies too saw controversial twists and turns courtesy the media.
She had also been harassed mid-air on an Air Vistara flight UK981 between Delhi and Mumbai. The accused, Vikas Sachdeva of Chandivli in Mumbai was subsequently arrested and charged under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), given Wasim was a legal minor.
Zaira will always be remembered as a recipient of numerous accolades, including a Filmfare Award and a National Film Award. She also has the distinction of winning the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement by Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India in 2017.
Her debut was in Dangal, where she portrayed the role of Geeta Phogat.
The highest grossing Indian film it grossed more than ₹2,000 crore (US$290 million) worldwide. She got a lot of appreciation for the musical drama Secret Superstar ranked among the highest-grossing Indian films. Awards like the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress kept her in good spirits as a professional.
In June 2019, she announced she would be leaving the industry
Her last film will be the Sky is Pink helmed by Shonali Bose.