After announcing that she has quit her acting career as it drove her away from ‘Allah’ and constricted her Muslim identity, Dangal actress Zaira Wasim has received a concoction of reactions from all kinds of people in India and abroad. She has struck a crucial debate concerning Muslim women and their freedom to work in the acting industry, free from the shackles of orthodoxy. The move has left a lot of people shocked as she had amassed a huge following and achieved a lot in her short 5 years long career in Bollywood. Further what has shocked the people is the fact that Aamir Khan is strangely mum about the whole incident. The young Kashmiri girl met her first success under the tutelage of Aamir Khan when she shared the silver screen with the Bollywood icon. However, Aamir Khan has still not reacted to make his stand clear on the contentious issue.
All of Zaira Wasim’s movies till now have been Aamir Khan Starrers. To say that the 52 year old actor has taken the young teenager under his wing would be an understatement. Such was the relation between the two that the media and the citizens perceived Aamir Khan to be Zaira’s mentor. Zaira herself stated that Aamir Khan “is like a friend.” Moreover, after working with him for her second film, Secret Superstar, Zaira Wasim stated, “The equation has changed and obviously grown. Even before ‘Dangal’, I was very close to him, now he has become (like a) family.” Moreover, at a promotional event some time back, Aamir Khan had claimed that Zaira is the best actress in Hindi cinema today.
Needless to say, the two were extremely close and Aamir Khan had obviously been a huge guide and safety factor for the 18 year old in the world of Bollywood. In thes circumstances, it becomes essential for Aamir Khan to comment on Zaira’s decision and even guide her, if need be.
While talking about her decision to quit bollywood, Zaira stated, “While I continued to work in an environment that consistently interfered with my imaan, my relationship with my religion was threatened. I lost all the Barakah from my life.” She further stated, “I continued to put myself in a vulnerable position where it was always so easy to succumb to the environment that damaged my peace, imaan and my relationship with Allah.”
Zaira Wasim has essentially acknowledged that while she loved her work, she was uncomfortable as it constricts with her identity as a Muslim. Being a follower of Islam and a renowned actor himself, Aamir Khan is the most obvious individual who can help soothe Zaira’s troubles right now and help her rethink her judgment lest her move makes other young Muslim girls believe that their professional growth interferes with their faith.
Aamir Khan has passed statement such as, “I feel the industry doesn’t differentiate on the basis of gender. Their gender is unimportant. We have equal status, in terms of gender, when it comes to a film crew. There are films coming out which have powerful women characters. We are moving in the right direction.”
Being an obvious proponent of equality, it is not only prudent, but a responsibility of Aamir Khan to guide Zaira Wasim on the path towards professional fulfillment. She is an extremely talented actor, but very young and naïve, which may have caused her to make the mindless decision without contemplating on the repercussions it will have on her life as well as the lives of numerous Muslim girls who look up to her. Being a fellow Muslim, Aamir Khan is in the best position to explain how her religion should not come in the way of cinematic performance, as faith and profession are two different aspects of an individual’s life. According to Aamir Khan, there is no difference between genders. Thus, all he has to explain to Zaira Wasim is that if he can be a successful actor and a faithful Muslim at the same time, she can be one too.
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