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Zaira Wasim’s Exit Must Have Demoralised Many Youngsters in Kashmir, Says Anupam Kher

Anupam Kher says that Zaira Wasim's decision to quit Bollywood saddens him as it could dampen the spirit of many youngsters from Kashmir.

Bohni Bandyopadhyay | News18.com

Updated:July 4, 2019, 7:30 PM IST
Zaira Wasim’s Exit Must Have Demoralised Many Youngsters in Kashmir, Says Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher says that Zaira Wasim's decision to quit Bollywood saddens him as it could dampen the spirit of many youngsters from Kashmir.

Veteran actor Anupam Kher, who has been a dominant voice in issues pertaining to Kashmir, says that Kashmiri actor Zaira Wasim's sudden decision to quit Bollywood saddens him. He said that her move could be demoralising to many youngsters, who looked up to her as a role model.

Zaira, the 18-year-old actress who had made her Bollywood debut with Aamir Khan's Dangal, decided to leave the industry within five years of stepping into it. In a social media post, she said that the profession of acting interfered with her 'imaan' and her relationship with her religion was threatened.

Zaira said that even though stepping into Bollywood opened doors of massive popularity for her, and she was often identified as a role model for the youth, but that was something she never wanted to become.

Kher says that when you are in a successful position, you have a certain responsibility towards your fans. He told News18 during an interaction, "With success comes a sense of responsibility, you have fans, you can't give a reason like that. But it's her life, I wish her good luck. I think that's her personal choice so we should not go into interpretations of that, and accept her interpretation."

"My only point is, if someone wants to leave, all they need to do is just go without giving an explanation. She is just an 18-year-old girl, full of dreams. The first time I read it, I was pretty saddened. I felt, is she being pressurised to do that?"

The actor also referred to the fact that while we celebrate the achievements of youngsters from Kashmir in sports and other fields, Zaira's decision will surely serve as a dampener to the spirit of many from the Valley.

"I hope she had continued. She was a hope for so many youngsters in Kashmir. On one hand we celebrate the inclusion of a Kashmiri boy in our cricket team, and another judo player, and on the other hand, here, Zaira must have demoralised so many other people," Kher said.

The 64-year-old actor has been invited to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to be a member, alongwith Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Ritesh Batra. Kher says it is a humbling feeling.

"It has been a nice life graph. I always refer to where I started my life from, in a small town in Shimla, to where life has taken me. And my philosophy of life, 'kuch bhi ho sakta hai', sort of gets vindicated or underlined when something like this happens. At the end of it, I am an Indian actor, who is reaching a certain status, so, as they say, I thank the Academy, I thank my country and my parents. It is a very humbling feeling," he said.

It is a deserving honour, Kher says, considering his body of work not only in Indian cinema, but also abroad. From Silver Linings Playbook and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger on the big screen to TV shows like New Amsterdam and Mrs Wilson, he has a number of international titles to his credit.

With the current list of invitees, it does appear that the Academy has tried to be more inclusive. The 842 new members, across 59 countries, have brought the female membership to 50%.

Kher is yet to fully understand the role of an Academy member, but lauded the equal representation move. “I am yet to understand the role. The Academy invites every year, or every three years, certain members to be on their committee. It’s a great honour. Also the equal representation (of men and women), which I saw this year, 50% representation, is fantastic. Me being a brand ambassador of the United Nations He For She, it can't get better than this."

The actor will next be seen in the Hindi film One Day: Justice Delivered, alongside Esha Gupta. He plays a retired judge in the thriller movie that is directed by Ashok Nanda, which will release on July 5.

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