When she went to Mumbai for the audition for Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ and saw hundreds of girls who had already done one or two ads or serials also auditioning for the same role, she thought there was no space for her. But luck was on her side, she bagged that role competing with a thousand girls.

Zaira WasimHowever, bagging that one big opportunity wasn’t easy for her as her parents were against her acting in Bollywood. Thanks to her school teacher and aunt who supported her decision and convinced her parents to follow the path she had always dreamed of since she was selected for a play based on female foeticide in school.

If you have a talent and you are passionate about that, no matter how much difficulties you face, you would surely reach there. And this is what Zaira Wasim’s journey also proves. Born and brought up in Jammu and Kashmir, the 16-years old Zaira never thought that her portrayal of young Geeta Phogat in ‘Dangal’ will give her a standing in Bollywood and millions of fans across the world.

Zaira who completed her basic schooling this year is now returning onscreen with her second movie, ‘Secret Superstar’ that narrates the story of a Muslim girl named Insia, who aspires to become a singer. Aamir Khan who played Zaira’s wrestling champion father in ‘Dangal’ also stars in a supporting character in this film that is directed by his long-time manager, Advait Chandan.

We caught up with Zaira Wasim prior to the release of ‘Secret Superstar’ to talk about the film, her celebrity status, Aamir Khan with whom she is working for the second time and much more. Excerpts:

Zaira Wasim1. You worked with Aamir Khan on Dangal – how was it working with him the first time on that film, and what is it like now?

Zaira: It was fun both the times, definitely. It has been a wonderful journey, a crazy roller-coaster in this one because there he was a father figure and here, I see a weird creepy man in the weirdest clothes and I have never seen him like this. So it was mentally a big jump for me. But it was fun.

2. Who are some of your biggest role models? Why?
Zaira: I don’t have role models, I don’t agree with the concept of role models.

3. Do the cast and crew help you out with your studies? What’s it like having a very different kind of education to your peers?
Zaira: Yes the definitely help me, that’s the only reason how I passed my 9th and 10th grade. They have been very corporative, that’s the only option they had. Otherwise, I would not have been a part of the film, my mother would have grounded me for the rest of my life. It’s fun. Initially, it’s fun because you think that you are going to miss school, but as soon as you step out of the set there are a lot of exams and tests, papers, everything waiting for you. It’s fun and difficult at the same time.

4. What’s been your favourite moment so far on the set of Secret Superstar?
Zaira: I enjoyed the shooting for the Nachdi Phira song, I really enjoyed the process.

5. How does it feel knowing that a lot of little girls in India and across the globe are watching your films?
Zaira: Lovely, it’s such an overwhelming and great feeling. I hope all of them like the film.