Two young guns from Kashmir recently hogged the headlines for an unusual reason. Coming from downtown – the heart of Srinagar city, a young girl and a boy made it to the acting world of India.
First it was the entry of 15-year-old Zaira Wasim from Hawal into Bollywood through upcoming film 'Dangal'. Zaira is playing the role of Aamir Khan's onscreen wrestler daughter in the film.
And then it was Sheikh Mohammad Abrar, a 14-year-old boy from Nawakadal who played the childhood version of actor Aditya Roy Kapoor in the recent released Bollywood flick 'Fitoor'.
"I am playing the childhood role of Geeta Phogat, the Commonwealth gold medalist. Phogat is the first woman wrestler from India to have won the gold medal in the 55 kg freestyle category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games," Zaira told Greater Kashmir.
Zaira said she was chosen among dozens of girls who appeared in the audition.
"I haven't any idea of acting in the films but one day when casting director of the film, Mukesh Chabra, visited our school for the audition, I was the only girl who got selected for the role," she said. "Later I was taken to Mumbai, where I attended kushti and language classes with hard feelings. The other 19 girls who were participating in the workshop were experienced and had already done ads. So, I was feeling that it will be difficult to create space for myself."
Daughter of a banker father and a teacher mother, Zaira says it was difficult to motivate the parents for the role.
"You know in Kashmir Bollywood is not looked up to. My parents were concerned what people would say. But an aunt come to my rescue," she said.
Zaira said: "Facing camera is a wonderful experience. As for as one is conscious of what I'm doing, I need not to worry what others will say."
Unlike Zaira, for Abrar entry into the films was not a chance happening, rather he was passionate to become an actor.
"It is my good luck that I got a chance to work in the film 'Fitoor'. Since my childhood I was wishing to work in films," Abrar, 14, said.
"The casting director of the film Mukesh Chabra came to our school before 2014 floods, and took auditions. Later I came to know that I was selected for the role," said Abrar.
For Abrar too, motivating his parents was not an easy job.
"First my parents were not allowing me to work in the film but when they started getting repeatedly calls from the production house, they allowed me," he said.
"Later I was taken to Mumbai for the workshops and camera test. First, it was so difficult for me to face the camera but with time I learned it. The whole production team there was very kind to me," he said.
Abrar said that he would continue to work on films whatever he gets on his hand.
"I have recently got a role in upcoming film 'Bands of Maharajas' and I will be moving to Mumbai for its shooting within a month or two," Abrar said.