Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar

With her innocence, charm and talent, as witnessed in ‘Dangal’ and ‘Secret Superstar’, Zaira Wasim has won our hearts! The young lady has a surprise packed for us, with her next. She speaks about the success of these two films, realising her responsibility as an artist and more in this brief chat…

What have you been up to post ‘Secret Superstar’?
I had a wonderful time in China when ‘Secret Superstar’ released there, so that’s what kept me busy. And then, I had my exams. It’s just been a week since I finished with my exams so I’m looking forward to some great things now.

Amidst all the response that ‘Dangal’ and then ‘Secret Superstar’ got, what were you the most happy about?
I’ve been fortunate that I got to be a part of these two amazing films which were not just entertaining but they also had a very good message. Unfortunately, they depicted things happening in the society which are not so pleasant, so I really hoped that in the process of entertaining people, we also put forward a message that people understand and get inspired by. There were so many compliments I got, whether it was the mother-daughter relationship in ‘Secret Superstar’ or the struggle of the mother or daughter. But the one thing which stayed with me was that, after watching the film, many people told us that we never used to appreciate what our mothers do for us but we realise now the sacrifices our mothers make for us which often go unacknowledged. So, there was this young 5 year old girl in China, and she came up to us and said, ‘I never appreciate what my mother does for me but now I understand’. So, that was so overwhelming and the kind of reactions we got from people of various age groups were so pure.

Being relatively young, when you’re exposed to this sort of an environment filled with hard work, creativity and so much more…how has that helped you grow?
I feel I’ve been able to understand what my strengths are, which sometimes are also my weaknesses. The biggest thing which I discovered through this journey, about myself, not just as an actor, but as a person also, is the conviction I have for certain things. If I am convinced about something then I can pull it off in a way which makes people believe it. But if I’m not convinced about a certain thing, I would not even consider going through it. Also, I got to interact with a lot of people so I’ve realised the kind of impact a film has globally. Whether, it’s positive or negative, cinema has an impact and certain things stay with people. So, I’ve realised that as artists we have that responsibility about the kind of work we involve ourselves in. We have to make sure that we are being ethically and morally correct if the film is being available to such a huge amount of audience, because it will definitely have an impact. Whether you try to put a message forward or not, people will actually pick up certain things from the film, it will affect them mentally, emotionally, and it gets induced in their mundane behaviour. So, I realise the kind of responsibility an artist has, towards the people who are watching them.

It’s commendable that you have this sort of sensibility being so young and just two films old….
One needs to have the sense of the kind of work you are involving yourself into. It should make sense to your conscience. It shouldn’t be like you are doing something and it’s going completely against your conscience. You need to have your priorities set, you need to know the difference between right and wrong. You need to be educated enough about that. A lot of things are involved in the making of an artist, or making of a film, or anything at all. These things have to matter at all costs.

Has there been any change in you as a person over the process of these films? Or maybe a change in the perception of people around you?
My life is pretty constricted to my family and friends so there’s no change in their perception since they know me in and out. But there are certain things that change in your life, because I’m learning, I’m growing and discovering things whether it’s emotionally, or about my work. Change is a constant and I hope that if I’m changing, it’s for the better.

You’ve mentioned earlier to me that your studies will always be a priority and these films just came your way…so how are things planned from here on?
I would just say that education will always be my priority over anything else. It’s really important. And I have got a lot of scripts so I will soon be coming up with a surprise.

So, what can people expect from your next?
Just recently I was narrated a sports based film which I really liked; I am looking forward on collaborating on the same project. Rest I would just keep it a surprise for now, but I’m really glad that people are looking forward to my work.

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