Zaira Wasim: From battling depression to quitting Bollywood, the 20-year-old has started a new life

Updated: 23 October, 2020 11:37 IST | Nikita Wagh
  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim was born on October 23, 2000, in Srinagar to Zahid and Zarqa Wasim. Her father works as an executive manager in Jammu and Kashmir Bank, while her mother is a teacher. (All pictures courtesy/Zaira Wasim's Instagram/Twitter accounts and Yogen Shah)

    Pictured: Zaira Wasim with Kiran Rao, Aamir Khan's wife.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim became famous overnight after her smashing Bollywood debut in Aamir Khan's Dangal. She shocked the film industry and her fans after she announced in June 2019, that she has decided to say goodbye to her acting career. Zaira cited religious reasons for her decision to quit her promising career in Bollywood. 

  • Zaira Wasim

    Before getting into details of Zaira Wasim's Facebook post talking about her exit from Bollywood, we take a look at her journey and personal life.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim completed her schooling in 2017 from St. Paul's International Academy studying under Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education.

    Pictured: Zaira Wasim with Sanya Malhotra.

  • Zaira Wasim

    At 16, she made her Bollywood debut in Aamir Khan's Dangal (2016) where she played the young Geeta Phogat. She went on to play the role of the protagonist, Insiya, a young girl who aspires to become a singer in Secret Superstar, also starring Aamir Khan.

    Pictured: Sanya Malhotra shared this hilarious picture of the 'Dangal' girls - Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim and herself - during the promotion of their film.

  • Zaira Wasim

    You would be surprised to know that though Zaira Wasim made her acting debut alongside Aamir Khan in Dangal, she had not seen any of the films of the superstar before.

    Pictured: Zaira Wasim with Sunny Leone.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim's parents were reportedly against her acting in Bollywood, but Zaira's principal and aunt apparently convinced them.

    Pictured: Zaira Wasim with 'Secret Superstar' director Advait Chandan.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Before making her Bollywood debut, Zaira Wasim was seen in two television commercials.

    Pictured: Zaira Wasim with 'Dangal' director Nitesh Tiwari.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim had revealed that acting was something she never aimed for. She was quoted saying, "I was never so inclined to this profession. It isn't like I wanted to be an actress. I am still the kind of person who doesn't watch films. I cannot sit through a whole film."

  • Zaira Wasim

    Coming back to her decision of quitting Bollywood, Zaira took to Facebook to pen down an emotional letter, bidding goodbye to the industry.

  • Zaira Wasim

    "Five years ago I made a decision that changed my life forever. As I stepped my foot in Bollywood, it opened doors of massive popularity for me. I started to become the prime candidate of public attention, I was projected as the gospel of the idea of success and was often identified as a role model for the youth," wrote Zaira Wasim in 2019.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira further added, "However, that's never something that I set out to do or become, especially with regards to my ideas of success and failure, which I had just started to explore and understand. As I complete 5 years today, I want to confess that I am not truly happy with this identity, that is, my line of work."

  • Zaira Wasim

    "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," read Zaira's post.

  • Zaira Wasim

    "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' (a Muslim's steadfast path in Allah's devotion)," wrote Zaira.

  • Zaira Wasim

    "While I continued to work in an environment that consistently interfered with my Imaan, my relationship with my religion was threatened," Zaira's statement read.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira added further, "As I continued to ignorantly pass through while I kept trying to convince myself that what I was doing is okay and isn't really affecting me, I lost all the 'barakat' (fulfilment bestowed upon a devout Muslim by Allah) from my life."

  • Zaira Wasim

    "Barakat is word whose meaning isn't just confined to happiness, quantity or blessing, it also focuses on the idea of stability, which is something I struggled with extensively," explained Zaira in her post.

  • Zaira Wasim

    "I was constantly battling with my soul to reconcile my thoughts and instincts to fix a static picture of my Imaan and I failed miserably, not just once, but a hundred times. No matter how hard I tried to wrestle to firm my decision, I ended up being the same person with a motive that one day I will change and I will change soon," said an emotional Zaira.

  • Zaira Wasim

    "I kept procrastinating by tricking and deluding my conscience into the idea that I know what I am doing doesn't feel right but assumed that I will put an end to this whenever the time feels right and I continued to put myself in a vulnerable position where it was always so easy to succumb to the environment that damaged my peace, Imaan and my relationship with Allah," said the actress, who was last seen in The Sky Is Pink.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira added further, "I continued to observe things and twist my perceptions as I wanted them to be, without really understanding that the key is to see them as they are. I kept trying to escape but somehow I always ended up hitting a dead end, in an endless loop with a missing element that kept torturing me with a longing I was neither able to make sense of nor satisfy."

  • Zaira Wasim

    "Until I decided to confront my weakness and began to strive and correct my lack of knowledge and understanding by attaching my heart with the words of Allah. In the great and divine wisdom of the Quran, I found sufficiency and peace," concluded Zaira.

  • Zaira Wasim

    "Indeed the hearts find peace when it acquires the knowledge of its Creator, His Attributes, His Mercy and His commandments. I began to heavily rely upon Allah's mercy for my help and guidance instead of valuing my own believability. I discovered my lack of knowledge of the basic fundamentals of my religion and how my inability to reinforce a change earlier was a result of confusing my heart's contentment and well being with strengthening and satisfying my own (shallow and worldly) desires," signed off Zaira.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Circa 2017, Zaira Wasim was on cloud 9 after critics, as well as the audience, appreciated her work in Secret Superstar.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Talking about how her life changed after attaining popularity across the country, she said, "Not much has changed but there's so much love. Every time I am out, people come and click pictures, they talk to me, they want to know what's going on (referring to her upcoming projects), but apart from that life is the same."

  • Zaira Wasim

    Aamir Khan had even praised Zaira Wasim, saying she is the finest actor in the Hindi filmdom now. He was quoted saying, "Zaira, for me, if you ask me who is the finest actor in the Hindi film industry today, I would say Zaira. She's absolutely amazing."

    Pictured: Zaira Wasim with Aamir Khan.

  • Zaira Wasim

    In May 2018, Zaira Wasim had opened up in yet another long social media post that she had been suffering from depression for over four years, but was pushed into a "bubble of denial".

    Pictured: Zaira with Kiran Rao, Aamir Khan and Advait Chandan.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim had said she knew something wasn't right for her, however, people and doctors around her told her, "It's nothing, you're too young to be depressed". Her first panic attack was at the age of 12, and another one at 14.

    Pictured: Aparshakti Khurana, Rithvik Sahore, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim, Aamir Khan, Sanya Malhotra, Nitesh Tiwari at 'Secret Superstar' screening.

  • Zaira Wasim

    She was heavily trolled, recently, in May 2020, for quoting from the Quran while talking about locust attacks. "So We sent upon them the flood and locusts and lice and frogs and blood: Signs openly self-explained: but they were steeped in arrogance -- a people given to sin. --Qur'an 7:133," Zaira had tweeted. The criticism compelled Zaira to take a break from social media. We must say, the young girl has and is still going through a lot mentally and emotionally.

  • Zaira Wasim

    Zaira Wasim's decision to quit Bollywood had left celebrities surprised, but eventually, they felt that her decision should be respected. What do you think?

  • Zaira Wasim

    Here's wishing her nothing but happiness and good luck for everything she does in life! Happy birthday, Zaira!

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About The Gallery

It's Zaira Wasim's birthday on October 23. The 20-year-old, who took Bollywood by storm with her performance in Aamir Khan's 'Dangal' and 'Secret Superstar', quit Bollywood in 2019. Here's taking a look at this Kashmiri girl's life off-screen!

First Published: 01 July, 2019 11:40 IST