Zaira Wasim, who plays the repressed teenager Insia in Secret Superstar, describes herself as a destiny’s child.
She made a spectacular film debut with the National Award-winning Dangal and is back this Thursday with the uplifting drama in which she plays the central character who dreams of becoming a singer.
In the Aamir Khan-led sports biopic, she played the younger version of the feisty wrestler, Geeta Phogat.
“My destiny has been making all these decisions for me and I have given up on making plans... It was an impulsive decision to audition for Secret Superstar and I went in with no hopes of getting selected,” said Wasim.
But director Advait Chandan loved her instantly and even tried cajoling Dangal’s director Nitesh Tiwari and its producer-actor Aamir Khan (who discovered her) to excuse her from Dangal so that he could begin filming Secret Superstar.
But they didn’t relent and Chandan waited for more than a year to have Wasim on board.
But playing the troubled teen who courts fame after she uploads a song on the internet wasn’t easy.
The actress claims that the character belonged to a different world and that she found it difficult to relate to her turmoil.
There’s a scene in the trailer in which her patriarchal father destroys her guitar so that she stops practising music and that encapsulates the degree of control that a parent yields on Insia’s existence. The story is set in Baroda.
“Insia is not allowed to voice her opinions or pursue her dreams of becoming a world-famous singer. Her pressure is from her father and he is not just against her dreams but her entire existence. This is her story and it was never easy to play the role,” said Wasim.
Born in Jammu, Wasim’s parents aren’t from the acting world, but they were still supportive of her acting career and her life choices.
“I have been pampered [at home] and girls are treated like queens in my family. We have been given the liberty and are trusted to make our own decisions. That is the contrast,” said Wasim.
Despite receiving a great feedback from the masses and from her much experienced colleague, Aamir Khan, who calls her a natural, Wasim isn’t overthinking her future plans.
So will she continue to act?
“I am not a Bollywood buff, but all I know is that I love acting.”
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Secret Superstar releases in the UAE on October 19.