Zaira Wasim

Actress Zaira Wasim at the wrap-up party of her upcoming film "The Sky Is Pink," in Mumbai on June 11. This will be her last film as she has quit Bollywood. (IANS photo)

MUMBAI— Few aspects have divided the industry as Zaira Wasim’s decision to quit acting within less than three years of her debut in “Dangal.”

Zaira Wasim played the childhood of Indian sportswoman Geeta Phogat in “Dangal.” She was signed in June 2015. She received a National award for Exceptional Achievement at a ceremony in New Delhi in 2017.

In 2017, she also did a progressive role in a Muslim subject, “Secret Superstar,” in which she battled a regressive father to become a singer. She has now completed her work in “The Sky Is Pink,” a biopic on motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhary, a 19-year-old girl who died from pulmonary fibrosis. Co-starring Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar, the film releases in October.

While Aamir Khan has yet to comment, her first director Nitesh Tiwari has defended her decision and expressed the loss of an exceptional actress. “The Times of India” and several other publications and portals have been abuzz with Wasim’s statement and the views of the industry.

Twitter too has seen a barrage of criticism and support and even the theory that all this is a publicity stunt. Raveena Tandon, Kamaal R. Khan, Payal Rohatgi and Anupam Kher have had a lot to say on Wasim’s statement that her working in the industry “damaged my peace, imaan (honor) and my relationship with Allah.”

Kher said, “I think it is a tragedy that a 16 or 17-year-old girl has to take a decision like that. I do respect her sentiments; I do respect that it’s her individual choice. But I feel sad that she had to take a decision like this. She is most welcome to take her decision. She is an independent girl, and our country gives everybody the fundamental right to choose what they want to choose. I felt sad because somewhere if the issue is religion, it is not her decision.”

Raveena Tandon Thadani mocked, “It doesn’t matter if two-film olds are ungrateful to the industry that has given them so much. I just wish they exit gracefully and keep their regressive views to themselves.”

Kamaal R. Khan, also a Muslim, said that this is a publicity stunt and advised people not to trust the lady. Vivek Agnihotri, director of “The Tashkent Files,” defends her and states, “Of course, we must not judge the choices of Zaira Wasim, but in the age of Artifical Intelligence, we must question the book that orders an individual to quit arts to make peace with Allah.”

Slamming Wasim, Payal Rohatgi stated, “I hope that this child now grows up. She says she is quitting because it interferes with her religion. People become jihadis (terrorists) under the same ideology. After all, she is an Indian, so I am sharing my concern on a public platform.”

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