Kashmiri teenager Zaira Wasim Khan, who rose to fame after playing the young version of wrestler Geeta Phogat in Aamir Khan‘s blockbuster film “Dangal”, was caught in a controversy after she met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed.
Soon after the meeting where Mufti called her a “Kashmiri role model”,, the 16-year-old actor faced social media ire where she was trolled online. She and Mufti were even called “Indian agents”.
Zaira tendered an open apology on Facebook but deleted it later.
Her Facebook post read: “I know that many people have been offended and displeased by my recent actions or by the people I have recently met. I want to apologise to all those people who I’ve unintentionally hurt and want them to know that I understand their sentiments, especially considering what has happened (in Kashmir) over the past six months.”
“I hope people can also understand there are certain circumstances that emerge which one cannot control. I hope people still remember that I’m a just a 16-year-old girl and treat me accordingly. I’m sorry for what I did, but it was not a deliberate decision and I really hope people can forgive me.” another post by her, that was also deleted, read.
While the controversy continues, here are 10 facts you must know about Zaira Wasim Khan:
1. Zaira Wasim was born on October 23, 2000 in Srinagar city of Jammu and Kashmir.
2. On Jan 12, Zaira Wasim cleared her Class X board exams from St. Paul’s International Academy under Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education.
3. Her father Zahid Wasim is an executive manager at Jammu and Kashmir Bank. Her mother Zarqa Wasim is a teacher.
4. While her immediate family was against her acting in a Bollywood movie, it was her school principal and her aunt who convinced her parents.
5. Earlier, Zaira Wasim has done two commercials – one for satellite television provider Tata Sky and another for smartphone Nokia Lumia. While the Tata Sky one was shot in Kashmir’s Gulmarg, while the shooting for Nokia Lumia ad was done in Uttarakhan’s Almora.
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6. She auditioned for the role of young Geeta Phogat in “Dangal” with 19,000 other girls.
7. She loves playing guitar.
8. Zaira Wasim is a cat-lover and has a pet feline.
9. She claims herself to be a shy person who has limited friends.
10. Zaira Wasim will next be seen in Aamir Khan’s forthcoming film “Secret Superstar” where she will be playing the lead. The film, to release on Aug 4 this year, is about a girl who aspires to be a singer.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.