Let us celebrate Zaira Wasim

  • Mahroosh Banday
  • Publish Date: Aug 3 2017 9:54PM
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  • Updated Date: Aug 3 2017 9:54PM
Let us celebrate Zaira Wasim

For many people, Mumbai remains the city of maybachs and oddly set large diamonds and dreams where individuals go to every once in a while to make or break once and for all the castles of their dreams.

In Kashmir the idea of making it in Mumbai is still considered far fetched, impractical and somewhat unrealistic and rightly so because out of as many Kashmiris in the last hundred years, no one has quite made it yet.

In her first feature film 'Dangal' starring Aamir Khan and Sakshi Tanwar, Zaira Wasim plays with great panache, an elder daughter of a Haryanvi household.

She plays Geeta Phogat, the eldest daughter of Mahavir Phogat (played by Aamir Khan ) an ambitious father who hopes to conceive boys in order to give closure to the ambitions that he once entertained but couldn't fulfil. Ms Wasim plays the character of a pre adolescent Haryanvi girl with the perfect amount of tantrums, reality and drama. The Haryanvi accent and the pahalvani roll out of her like she has been doing only this all her life, unsurprisingly the critics gave her rave reviews.

In a community when some individual makes it to a place where no one else has been before, the rest nod their heads in approval and appreciate the phenomenon in all the ways possible. Regrettably when it was announced that Zaira Wasim has bagged a national award for her work in Dangal, it was sad to see people condemning her. They went on to say many things about her.  Acting is an art and like all great arts it requires skill, perseverance and hard work. National award is a hugely prestigious award, not even Shahrukh Khan has won one yet. Zaira Wasim at sixteen years and one movie old won it, the enormity of this moment for us as a community cannot be overstated and yet when the moment came people blamed Ms Wasim.  Everyone talked about how she had 'degraded' herself. Not only was she dragged into this mire but the motives of her parents were also questioned. No mention was made of the artistic heights that she had achieved in her maiden feature film.

 Kashmiri people pride themselves for being open minded with the centuries of artistry that is why we need to promote female artists who are putting their heart and soul in their work. One must not feel sad with the realization that if Zaira Wasim were a boy, her success would be paraded and owned by all. Let’s be accepting so that she is not seen as a girl who belongs to a community where people refuse to recognize her artistic talent even when it is staring them right in the face. If girls get applauded for being doctors or teachers, they should be encouraged for being anything that  breaks barriers.  One looks at this condemnation and feels sad as it also reminds us of the condemnation of Pragaash - an all girl band that was chastised and made to shut down even when n number of boy bands existed.

Let’s support all our artists equally. Let’s give everyone space to create and be creative. Let’s learn to respect.