Bollywood actress Zaira Wasim has quit acting in order to focus on her relationship with her Muslim religion – something the 18-year-old said was threatened by her career. The star rose to fame in 2016 in the film Dangal, which became one of the highest grossing films of the industry, and earned her the National Award for Best Supporting Actress.
However, Zaira, who is from Indian-administered Kashmir, wrote in a lengthy Facebook post over the weekend: ‘This journey has been exhausting, to battle my soul for so long.’ She said it had taken her five years in the industry to come to the revelation. ‘[…] I want to confess that I am not truly happy with this identity i.e my line of work,’ she wrote. ‘For a very long time now it has felt like I have struggled to become someone else. ‘As I had just started to explore and make sense of the things to which I dedicated my time, efforts and emotions and tried to grab hold of a new lifestyle, it was only for me to realise that though I may fit here perfectly, I do not belong here.’ She added: ‘This field indeed brought a lot of love, support, and applause my way, but what it also did was to lead me to a path of ignorance, as I silently and unconsciously transitioned out of imaan [faith]. ‘While I continued to work in an environment that consistently interfered with my imaan [faith], my relationship with my religion was threatened.’ As opinion soon polarised in the comments section,
she continued: ‘It was always so easy to succumb to the environment that damaged my peace, imaan [faith] and my relationship with Allah.’ The post has since gone viral, with many reacting to her choice of stepping away from the spotlight to focus on religion.
Fellow actress Raveena Tandon shared her opinion of Zaira’s move: ‘Doesn’t matter if two-film olds are ungrateful to the industry that have given them all. Just wish they’d exit gracefully and keep their regressive views to themselves. [sic]’ Zaira has divided the internet (Picture: Getty Images) In a separate tweet she added: ‘Exit is your choice, reason, by all means. Just do not demean it for everyone else’, later adding the industry is ‘one where all work shoulder to shoulder, no difference in caste and religion.’
The Twittersphere was divided, as one disagreed with her choice: ‘Dear #ZairaWasim I respect your decision of quitting movies. I don’t agree with the reasons that you’ve given. ‘I think you’re an incredible actress and you can do so much more with your career. I genuinely hope you’d rethink and continue to pursue Acting… Best wishes!!’ Another felt religion shouldn’t be the reason she quit. ‘Respect choice of Zaira Wasim quitting acting in movies but she can’t invoke religion and faith to justify this,’ one wrote online. ‘Are others in the field some kind of sinners? This dawning of new reality should be her own truth & her own interpretation of religion. Period..’ However, others were praising of the teen’s decision, as one wrote: ‘An 18-year-old woman has come to a personal decision about her faith and career. It may not be the decision you would have made, or one that you would have wished her to make.