Aamir Khan’s Dangal has broken all records at the box-office by becoming the highest grossing film ever. But 16-year-old Zaira Wasim, who played his daughter in the blockbuster, is yet to get any recognition in her homeland Kashmir. The biopic highlights the struggle of former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, who trained his two daughters Geeta and Babita to follow his footsteps and become world-class wrestlers.
However, her success in Kashmir has been a low key. While cynics may argue it with the fact there are no cinema halls in Kashmir since the 90s after militancy erupted in the Valley, there’s more to the lackluster than what meets the eye. After all, Kashmiris do watch movies on cable TV and CDs (thanks to piracy).
While Mr Perfectionist, Aamir Khan appreciated Zaira’s performance and Bollywood pundits called her the future star, all this honour failed to get the attention of the people and government of Jammu and Kashmir.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who felicitated 8-year-old kickboxing champion, Tajamul Islam twice, didn’t even greet Zaira once. This was not expected of Mehbooba, who is otherwise hailed by her admirers as the “Iron Lady”.
The only recognition that Zaira got in Kashmir was a small private party hosted in her honor by 92.7 Big FM, a private radio station in Srinagar. The cake for the event was gifted by a young entrepreneur who runs the Other Side Café. The radio channel also covered the party live on social media.
Talking to hosts, Zaira said that Aamir Khan is a man full of warmth and his presence gives a sense of positivity every time you meet him.”
But didn’t she deserve encouragement from the state government, if not necessarily the people of her own state?
And if this was not enough, Zaira has also qualified her class 10th board exams with flying colours from Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education on January 12. Despite being busy with Dangal, this young achiever bagged an A2 in the exams.
Though she is not getting the appreciation she deserves, the Dangal girl is happy for having knocked-out the exams fears by scripting another success story. “Alhamdulillah I qualified it!”