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From Dangal to Secret Superstar, she has become a superstar herself: Zaira Wasim

By Armin S. Friday, Nov 10, 2017 04:41: PM

Zaira Wasim clearly stood out in Dangal in her role as the young Geeta Phogat. Now, under Aamir Khan’s wing once again, she truly comes out shining in Secret Superstar. She knows that when the going gets tough, the tough get going – and that’s exactly what she has done. From learning wrestling to learning the guitar, she is following in the footsteps of becoming a perfectionist herself. Here’s our chat with Zaira:


Dangal saw you learning wrestling. Secret Superstar saw you learning the guitar for an entire year. How important was it to you to ensure you looked like a real musician and singer?


I think it’s a huge contrast, not just what you see on the surface, the biggest difference here was that Dangal was a physical challenge and here for Secret Superstar, it was very emotional and very intense. Secret Superstar was emotionally challenging for me as an actor but Dangal would be physically challenging. Since music plays a very important role in the film, here the girl is a singer and since I couldn’t sing, I took a lot of time to study the act of singing on screen, what should it look like. I had to make sure that I’m not faking it. I had to make sure that I wasn’t under playing it or even over playing it for that matter.


In the typical world of Hindi cinema, while we are seeing some progress of some female lead films, we are still in a zone where we are not used to seeing a female lead in the film, especially one that is so young as yourself. Do you find it intimidating to be shouldering Secret Superstar based on your character?

I have this pressure all the time, I had the same amount of pressure during Dangal. I would put it this way that when you’re doing something, it’s human nature to have pressure on you when you are doing something that you are not used to and I always have this pressure. I’m sure I’ll have the same amount of pressure in my next project because I want to go out there and give my best so I’m sure the pressure would always be there. And I’m very glad and very fortunate that I got to work in these two films that carry such important messages - at the same time it defines the sad reality of our society.


You and Aamir sir go back to Dangal. He talked about not being sure whether you would be able to wrestle, and then, not being sure whether you would be able to play the guitar. But he says you are the finest actors of today’s times. Is he strict or very complimentary?

It’s so much fun to be around him, there is this whole notion that goes around Aamir sir that he would be very strict, that he is a perfectionist but it’s completely the opposite because Aamir sir is not strict at all and it’s so much fun to have him around. At the same time he is so intimidating - as a person as well as an actor. You get inspired when you look at him, the way he works and the passion he has for his work, the dedication that he has for his work. He would go as far as he can to do his level best.




Do you often go to Aamir sir for tips? What is the biggest learning lesson you have earned from spending time with him?

The biggest thing is that how people call him a perfectionist, I have come to realize while I was working with Aamir, is his passion for his work. And one thing that he told me is that there is no definition of the best, there is always a better or good, so no matter how hard you try you should always strive it to be even better.


What is the plan going forward for you and what kind of roles would you like to play?

I don’t know whether this is the right time to make a comment on this, I don’t want to go out and set up a bar for myself, I’m still exploring. I’ve done two films, for me it has to be a good script, while it’s being narrated I have a very broad imagination, and when it’s being narrated I have to sort of get into that space that I need to imagine myself in that character, because there’s been a lot of times where I couldn’t imagine it. It was being narrated and my mind was somewhere else. I could not paint the picture in my head so that is how I’m driven to a decision of whether I want to be a part of this film or not.


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