Bollywood star Aamir Khan on Tuesday described “Dangal” co-star Zaira Wasim, who came under attack after meeting Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, as a “role model”.
The superstar also asked her critics to leave her alone.Aamir took to Twitter to say that Zaira, who played the role of young Geeta Phogat in “Dangal”, was a role model to children across the world.
The criticism started a few months back, when 16-year-old Kashmiri actor Zaira Wasim with her hair trimmed appeared in pictures on Facebook, as she was prepared for a role of a young wrestler in the Aamir Khan starrer Dangal.
Internet trolls in the conservative Kashmir valley, where Islamic militants in the early 1990s forced cinema halls to shut, questioned the teenager’s moral character for starring in a hit film.
The trolling grew stronger on late Saturday evening, after the teenager posted her picture along with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who described her as a “Kashmiri role model”.In the wake of such criticism, 16-year-old ‘Dangal’ movie star Zaira Wasim on Monday tendered a public apology on social media “for her public appearance with politicians”.
“This is an open confession/apology. I know that many people have been offended and displeased by my recent actions or by the people I have recently met (sic),” wrote Wasim Facebook. The post was deleted later.
The apology was made after she was being criticised all around on social networking sites and on a day when Jammu and Kashmir’s Cheif Minister Mufti described her as “role model” and “inspiration” in the Assembly. CM Mufti met Wasim, who has been lying low in Srinagar, on Saturday in Jammu.
“…First and foremost thing is that I am being projected as a role model for Kashmiri Youth. 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. I’m not proud of what I’m doing and I want everyone, especially the Youth to know that there are real role models out there whether they be in this time or in our history (sic),” wrote Wasim on her Facebook page which was deleted later.
Wasim expressed that she 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,” she added.
Wasim’s post came following she was trolled online for meeting CM Mufti. “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,” she wrote.
Zaira Wasim featured as the younger Geeta Phogat in the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Dangal’ movie. Her close associates told The Hindu that she was deliberately lying low in the Valley, fearing “unnecessary attention”. She even faced challenges at the family level to work in the movie, they said. Meanwhile, she has signed another with Khan recently.
Before deleting the FB post, she wrote: “This was post was not meant against anyone, just wanted to make sure that people were not hurt by what I was doing. From media to everyone else, please don’t blow this out of proportion. Neither was I forced (to apologise) nor am I against anyone. Hopefully this post just stops this once and for all.