Mumbai: When a striking lass portraying wrestler Geeta Phogat appeared on the big screen in Dangal, audiences couldn’t help but be captivated by her phenomenal performance. One year later, the 17-year-old has managed to impress film buffs with yet another riveting act in her latest flick Secret Superstar.
We caught up with India’s latest teen sensation, actress Zaira Wasim, who amazed us with her level-headedness and maturity, which undoubtedly seem way ahead of her age. Having come all the way from Srinagar as Youth Ambassador for the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon being organised by Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor, she says, “This is my first time Bengaluru. I haven’t explored it yet, but I hope to do so as I’ve heard so much about it.”
Ask the gorgeous girl how life after her Bollywood entry has been and she says, “I don’t believe that life has a changed a lot, but I receive a lot of love from people and that’s overwhelming. I feel really blessed.” Considering she’s one of the few lucky ones to have worked with superstar Aamir Khan twice as a newcomer, what does she like most about him? “I can’t pick out one thing. I learnt so many things from him — he’s so simple and grounded. I know everyone calls him Mr Perfectionist, but I think we should start calling him Mr Passionate!” Now that she’s soaking in the success of Secret Superstar, Zaira admits that she wants to enjoy the phase. “I’m not in the frame of mind to make a decision about any project right now.”
As we question her about how she has an assured sense of maturity at such a young age, she replies, “When growing up, you understand things better and go through experiences. I guess I have my priorities set and understand the difference between right and wrong. You need to be patient and content.”
A student at The Heritage School in Jammu, this youngster juggles her career and her studies like a pro. “I’m fortunate to have supportive folks — from my parents to my friends and work mates. My school principal and chairman are extremely encouraging and cooperative. Education is my priority too, so I want to do both simultaneously,” she says. When she’s not at school or behind the camera, the self-confessed cat addict likes to chill with her kitties in her room. “I’m so obsessed with cats that it’s almost crazy at times!” she smiles.
For this national award-winning artiste, the road to success wasn’t always smooth as she was the target of vicious trolls on social media. Not only was Zaira abused for having met J & K CM Mehbooba Mufti, but she was also attacked by extremists for choosing to act. “To be honest, initially it bothered me a lot — my film had not even released and I was quite scared. But then I realised that people are going to have all sorts of opinions about my work or me as a person and that not all opinions define my reality. None of us should give so much importance to trolling — it gives more power to them,” she says. Despite all that’s often spoken about her hometown Kashmir, Zaira says, “You should just come there and enjoy it!”