The nicker (short pants), t-shirt donned cyclone from DANGAL is now on her own. This time the national award winner is elegantly ‘suited booted' in a white t-shirt, blue blazer with a matching trouser and an infectiously pleasant smile that keeps on spreading the freshness in the air. After exchanging pleasantries, the 16-year-old Zaira Wasim speaks straight from her heart. The lead actress of the year's highly awaited Diwali attraction SECERT SUPERSTAR opens up on her dream, shares some secrets and what Aamir Khan means to her while digging on her favorite ice cream.
Excelling in academics, getting selected in auditions for Aamir Khan Productions, winning the national award in your debut film DANGAL, working again with Aamir Khan and from a supportive role to a lead actress in the year's highly awaited SECRET SUPERSTAR, how will you describe your journey?
Eventful, imagined, magical and sometime surreal! I never believed that I would be here, make it at the auditions, I am person who doesn't watch much films. I feel blessed and so lucky that I have reached here and working with such great people like AK (her short form for Aamir Khan) twice in a row.
For anyone (from the industry or outside) of your age, it's certainly a dream come true. So do you feel the same, and are you living your dreams so early?
I am yet to figure out my dreams and my passion. Even in my wildest dreams I never imagined myself to be an actress, a performer in front of a crowd. I have this social anxiety I am a shy individual by nature.
"I am not a social media freak"
When was the first time you saw Aamir Khan on screen?
Hmm.. In JO JEETA WOHI SIKANDER I guess. As I said, I am not used to watching films but we all know who Aamir Khan is.
You have denied to be considered as a role model but it's an achievement for a girl coming from Kashmir doing well in academics and now featuring as lead in the year's highly awaited release.
I am blessed to have such supportive parents. I didn't face any opposition, objection or nuisance. It doesn't matter whether you are from Kashmir or anywhere else, I am fortunate to have parents who understand their children. I am surrounded by an environment that's positive and doesn't throw hurdles and creates any discrimination.
The setting in SECRET SUPERSTAR is completely opposite from your real life experience, the father is not supportive of his daughter's aspirations, so how did you got into the skin of your character Insia?
As an actor Insia is a challenging character to play for me. I am a learner and right now I have not reached to the level to understand the nuances, minutes, demands and emotions of such characters. Director Advait Chandan helped in shaping me into Insia on screen.
What was Aamir Khan's contribution in shaping your character?
We all know the level of dedication Aamir Khan gives to his roles and similarly he made me the singer in ‘real' as he wanted my character to be as authentic as any talented singer. I learned guitar, it was very difficult for me but my coach Kripa sir (Kripa Shankar Bishnoi) made it possible. I also spent a lot of time with Meghna Mishra (singer) as I wanted to understand how to sing. We used to rehearse together.
You are in a bit of music, what do you prefer to listen?
I prefer folk songs. Green Day is my favorite band and Golden Leaves by Passenger is my favorite song.
The movie also speaks about the power of internet, how net savvy you are? And your words on ‘trolling' – today's favourite pastime for many..
I am not a social media freak, I do have accounts but I limit myself. Trolling is for those who don't have any constructive things to do and it doesn't require any brains it just needs a system and an internet connection.
"I don't dream, I plan"
Aamir Khan says you are one of the finest talents at present in Bollywood. It's a huge statement, what you have to say?
Aamir Khan is like a father figure. Our relationship has grown and now we all -Aamir and the 4 DANGAL girls are now a family. We are just a phone call away from each other. As far as my potential as an actor is concerned, he knows me more than anyone else. The passion he has for his work is overwhelming and he comes with proper preparations. I am the spontaneous type which needs guidance. When I started I used to forget my lines and slowly I have gained confidence as an actor in my journey. The movie talks about dreams and if it helps someone to dream, I will be glad.
If SECRET SUPERSTAR achieves the desired success, will you continue your innings in Bollywood and leave studies behind?
No, education is a priority and I will try to manage both. I want to study and will resume my education.
You must be missing your hometown when you are in Mumbai, your favorite Kashmiri food?
Yes I miss my hometown Kashmir and in near future there are no such plans to shift base. I am not that dreamy type though I make my plans and am yet to figure out my dream. From the Kashmir cuisine I love Wazwan. I believe in destiny.. So let's see.