Kashmiri girl Zaira Wasim, who played the younger version of Indian wrestler Geeta Phogat in Aamir Khan-led Bollywood blockbuster “Dangal”, on Monday apologised for “offending” and “unintentionally hurting” people after her meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti kicked up a row.
Zaira took to social media and tendered an apology apparently over her meeting with the chief minister on Saturday, which drew sharp reactions from the youth in the valley because of the situation here during the last few months.
She also played down her performance in “Dangal”, saying she was “not proud of” what she is doing.
“This is an open confession/apology. I know that many people have been offended and displeased by my recent actions or by the people I have recently met,” the 16-year-old actress wrote on her Facebook page.
Wasim said she wanted to apologise to “all those people who I have unintentionally hurt and I want them to know that I understand their sentiments behind it especially considering that what had happened over the past six months” – apparently referring to the unrest in the valley which left 86 people dead and thousands injured.
“But I hope people can also understand there are certain circumstances that emerge which one cannot control and I hope people still remember that I’m a just a 16 year old girl and I hope you treat me accordingly. I’m sorry for what I did but it was not a deliberate decision and I really hope people can forgive me,” she said.
Zaira also played down her projection as a role model for the youth of Kashmir, saying she does not want anyone to follow in her footsteps.
“There are few more things which are very important and I want to clear them as well. The first and foremost thing is that I am being projected as a role model for Kashmiri youth. I want to make it very clear that I do not want anyone to follow in my footsteps or even consider me as a role model.
“I’m not proud of what I’m doing and I want everyone, especially the youth to know that there are real role models out there whether they be in this time or in our history,” she said.
“To even consider me as a role model would be disgracing them and their disgrace would be OUR DISGRACE! I do not wish to start an argument here, this was a just a mere confession from my end which I really wanted people to know. May Allah bless us and guide us,” she said.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Wasim should not be forced to apologise.
“A 16 year old shouldn’t be forced to apologise & that too allegedly for meeting @MehboobaMufti. What are we coming to!” he tweeted.
“I’ve a problem with @MehboobaMufti trying to usurp other peoples success to cover up her own failures but why punish/troll people she meets?” he added.
Reacting to her post, filmmaker Ashoke Pandit said, “This is exactly what happened with the girls band Pragaash few months back and we saw what happened to them. They had to pack up and they stopped singing. I see nor reason why this child had to come out and issue the statement. She must have been targeted, must have been threatened.”
Geeta Phogat also backed Wasim, saying she need not apologise or worry as she has not done anything wrong.
“I just want to say that Zaira shouldn’t apologise. She didn’t do anything wrong. Just like we have made our country proud by winning medals, she has done the same thing by playing my younger version in the movie. She did a lot of hard work for that role and she played it really well.
“I’ve met her so many times during the shoot, she is a very simple girl… I want to say to her family that don’t be afraid about anything and just don’t worry. We all are with them. The entire country stands with them. She is equally deserving like us and we all respect her from the bottom of our hearts,” Geeta said.