Zaira Wasim

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Zaira Wasim
Zaira Wasim at the success bash of Secret Superstar.jpg
Wasim at the success bash of Secret Superstar
Born (2000-10-23) 23 October 2000 (age 17)
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Actress
Years active 2015-present
Awards National Film Award
National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement
Zaira Wasim with Aamir Khan's daughter Ira Khan and Dangal co-star Suhani Bhatnagar in 2016.

Zaira Wasim (born 23 October 2000)[1] is a Kashmiri film child actress. She made her acting debut with the biographical sports drama Dangal (2016) and followed with a starring role in the musical drama Secret Superstar (2017), both of which rank among the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. The former ranks among the highest-grossing films in China and the latter is the highest-grossing Indian film featuring a female protagonist of all time.[2] Wasim's acclaimed portrayal of an Indian sportswoman Geeta Phogat in the former won her the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and a headstrong aspiring singer in the latter won her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.[3][4] She was honoured with National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement by Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India at a ceremony in New Delhi.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Zaira Wasim was born in Kashmir, India to Zahid and Zarqa Wasim. Her father works as an Executive Manager Srinagar and her mother is a teacher. She completed tenth grade from St. Paul's International Academy in Sonwar Bagh, Srinagar for which she scored 92 percent in her Board examinations.[6][7] She is presently a twelve grade student in the Humanities stream in Jammu’s Heritage School under Central Board of Secondary Education.[8][9]


Prior to Hindi films, Wasim has acted in two television commercials.[8]

Her 2016 debut film Dangal went on to become a major commercial success.[10] She was cast by Aamir Khan when she was aged 14. Her portrayal of the childhood version of the Indian sportswoman Geeta Phogat won her several awards, including the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.[11]

In 2017, she played the lead role in Secret Superstar. She was cast for the role on being recommended to the film's director Advait Chandan by Aamir Khan and impressed by her screen test. Chandan had mentioned to Khan that he had been searching for an actor of a similar age for his then upcoming films leading role. Her portrayal of a head-strong aspiring singer struggling earned her a nomination for Best Actress and was awarded Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.[11]

In November 2017, she was presented with the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement by Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India at a ceremony in New Delhi.[5]

Outside of films, she has served as the Youth Ambassador for the 11th edition of the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon in 2017.[12]

As of July 2018, she is set to play the role of the motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhary, who died at an early age of 18 due to pulmonary fibrosis, in the Shonali Bose's film The Sky is Pink alongside Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar.[13]


Year Film Role Notes
2016 Dangal Young Geeta Phogat
2017 Secret Superstar Insiya
2019 The Sky is Pink Aisha Chaudhary

Awards and nominations[edit]

National Film Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Dangal Best Supporting Actress Won [3][14]

Filmfare Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2018 Secret Superstar Best Actress Nominated [4]
Best Actress (Critics) Won [15]

Star Screen Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Dangal Most Promising Newcomer (Female) Won [16][17]
Secret Superstar

Zee Cine Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2018 Secret Superstar Best Actor – Female (Jury's Choice) Nominated [18]
Best Actor – Female (Viewer's Choice) Nominated

National Child Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Dangal Exceptional Achievement Won [19][5]
Secret Superstar

News 18 Movie Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Dangal Best Supporting Actress Won [20]
2018 Secret Superstar Best Actress Nominated [21]

Big Zee Entertainment Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Dangal Best Child Artist Won [22]

Lux Golden Rose Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Secret Superstar Emerging Beauty of The Year Won [23][24]

International Indian Film Academy Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2018 Secret Superstar Best Actress Nominated [25]

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne[edit]

Year Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2018 Secret Superstar Best Actress Pending [26]


In 2016, publicity photos of Wasim surfaced showing her with trimmed hair for her role in the film Dangal. This resulted in her being trolled online by radical Muslims for having been "un-islamic" by acting in a film. In January 2017, a local news organization published the news and photos of her meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. This resulted in further criticism and Wasim receiving death threats[27] because Mufti had described Wasim as a "Kashmiri role model". In response, Zaira issued an apology on her Facebook and Instagram account which she deleted shortly after. But not before, the message was picked up and publicized by news media which added further fuel to the controversy. Subsequently, several Indian celebrities have voiced their support for Wasim, denouncing her critics.[28][29]

In January 2017, the Indian sports minister Vijay Goel during a visit to an art gallery tweeted a message "Our daughters are breaking out of their cages and moving forward". This was accompanied by a photo of him standing before a painting depicting two women – one in a hijab and another cowering in a cage. Zaira responded to Goel requesting him not to connect her to “such a discourteous depiction” and that women in hijab were “beautiful and free”. Goel responded saying that she had misinterpreted his tweet, he appreciated Wasim’s work and meant to discourage “evil and patriarchal notions".[30]

In December 2017, Wasim alleged that she had been harassed mid-air on an Air Vistara flight UK981 between Delhi and Mumbai. She posted a series of messages on her Instagram profile alleging that a man sitting behind her on the flight had caressed her neck while she was asleep. She also wrote that she had tried to record what the man was doing, but failed due to dim lights. The airline issued an apology on the issue and released a statement saying that a detailed investigation would be conducted. The alleged molester, Vikas Sachdeva of Chandivli in Mumbai was subsequently arrested and charged under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) given Wasim was a legal minor. The accused's wife claimed her husband had been resting when his leg accidentally touched Wasim. And that he had apologized before getting off the plane at the Mumbai airport, which the actress had acknowledged. The suspect has been placed in judicial custody pending a court hearing.[31][32] There has been support for the accused in the form of a signature-campaign by his neighbours and on social pages with pages like ‘Justice for Vikas Sachdeva’.[33] Wasim subsequently became a target of internet trolling, which has been criticized by the Mumbai Police, stating in a tweet, "It is the Constitutional Right of every victim to report sexual abuse and it is our duty to take cognizance, investigate & facilitate justice. Kindly refrain from being judgmental and #Respect the Right of a Victim of a Sexual Assault".[34] In a statement included with the tweet, the Mumbai Police also stated, "Our action against the accused is backed by sufficient evidence against him and it has been under the scrutiny by the court of law."[35]


  1. ^ Limited, InLinks Communication Private. "Zaira Wasim awarded the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement 2017 - Jammu Links News". Retrieved 2018-02-25. 
  2. ^ Cain, Rob (12 June 2017). "'Dangal' Tops $300 Million, Becoming The 5th Highest-Grossing Non-English Movie Ever". Forbes. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "64th National Film Awards" (PDF) (Press release). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 4 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Nominations for the 63rd Jio Filmfare Awards 2018". Retrieved 2018-01-18. 
  5. ^ a b c "Secret Superstar actor Zaira Wasim receives exceptional achievement award from President Kovind". Hindustan Times. 16 November 2018. 
  6. ^ "Kiran Rao thanks Kashmir school for backing 'Dangal' actress". 
  7. ^ "'I wish my parents would praise me but they don't'". 
  8. ^ a b "Dangal girl Zaira Wasim on growing up in Kashmir: Teenagers there have a view on everything". The Indian Express. 9 February 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017. 
  9. ^ "Secret Superstar actor Zaira Wasim: A girl with a new song". 
  10. ^ "Zaira Wasim biography". CrunchWood. Retrieved 10 February 2018. 
  11. ^ a b "Bollywood Icon Aamir Khan on 'Secret Superstar,' Worldwide Success of 'Dangal,' and Empowering Women: Exclusive". Yahoo! News. 19 October 2017. 
  12. ^ "Run to BENEFITis announced as the theme for the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon 2017 Zaira Wasim, of Dangal and Secret Superstar fame, will be the Youth Ambassador of the 11th edition of the run". City Today News. 2017-11-11. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  13. ^ "Priyanka Chopra, Zaira Wasim get started on Shonali Bose's true-life drama". Mumbai Mirror. 
  14. ^ "64th National Film Awards: Zaira Wasim wins Best Supporting Actress for Dangal". Retrieved 2017-10-11. 
  15. ^ "Critics Best Actor in Leading Role Female 2017 Nominees | Filmfare Awards". Retrieved 2018-01-20. 
  16. ^ "Zaira Wasim - Most Promising Newcomer". Twitter. 
  17. ^ "Star Screen Awards 2018". Hotstar. 
  18. ^ "2018 Archives - Zee Cine Awards". Zee Cine Awards. Retrieved 2017-12-31. 
  19. ^ "Kumari Zaira Wasim: Awarded the NationalChildAwards for Exceptional Achievement 2017". Twitter. 
  20. ^ "Movie Awards 2017: News18 Movie Awards 2017 Nominees, Latest New". News18. Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  21. ^ "Reel Movie On Screen Awards 2018 | Best Film, Actor, Actress, Director and More". News18. Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  22. ^ Reporter (2017-07-31). "Winners of Big Zee Entertainment Awards 2017". Total Reporter. Retrieved 2017-10-11. 
  23. ^ "Lux Golden Rose Awards - Zaira Wasim". Twitter. 
  24. ^ "Lux Golden Rose Awards". The Indian Express. 
  25. ^ "IIFA Awards 2018 Winners". IIFA. 
  26. ^ "Indian Film Festival Melbourne". Retrieved 2018-07-13. 
  27. ^ "'Islamic State will kill you': Masked men threaten Dangal actress Zaira Wasim in Srinagar | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  28. ^ "'Dangal' Girl Zaira Wasim Deletes Controversial Open Letter". The Quint. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  29. ^ "Zaira Wasim: Bollywood celebs come out in support of Dangal girl". 2017-01-17. Retrieved 2017-10-18. 
  30. ^ "Dangal star Zaira Wasim spars with sports min Vijay Goel for his hijab tweet". 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-10-18. 
  31. ^ "Dangal actress Zaira Wasim alleges molestation onboard Vistara flight". The Economic Times. 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2017-12-18. 
  32. ^ "Zaira Wasim molestation row: Accused's judicial custody extended to December 22". The Economic Times. 2017-12-13. Retrieved 2017-12-18. 
  33. ^ "support pours in for molestation accused". The Hindu. 
  34. ^ "Mumbai Police Dismiss Trolls And Stand With Zaira Wasim With This Supportive Tweet". India Times. 20 December 2017. 
  35. ^ "Minor actor molestation case: Mumbai Police says sufficient evidence against accused, requests restraint in discussions". Daily News and Analysis. 16 December 2017. 

External links[edit]