We were clear, we won’t cheat: Aamir Khan
Dangal (2016) actor Zaira Wasim, who played the young version of wrestler Geeta Phogat in the blockbuster film, has learnt to do two new things for her second film, Secret Superstar.
For Dangal, which got her a National Film Award, Zaira mastered wrestling moves for two years. For Secret Superstar, the teenage actor has slipped into the character of a Baroda-based youngster, Insia, who dreams of becoming a singer despite stiff opposition from her conservative father.
Actor Aamir Khan, who is producing the film (and who played her father, Mahavir Phogat in Dangal), was clear that they wouldn’t cheat at all. So Zaira had to learn to play the guitar and be convincing as a singer. For an entire year, Zaira had to learn these arts.
Only after her audition did she get the nod from Aamir. Zaira, 16, says, “I had to make sure it didn’t look like I was acting. There are times you might miss a beat or two. Ensuring that I don’t miss it was difficult.” Was it easier than learning to wrestle? “Both are equally difficult. I was scared when I first learnt how to wrestle. It wouldn’t have been possible without my coach Kripa sir (Kripa Shankar Bishnoi),” she says.
Aamir Khan says, “We were clear from beginning that we won’t cheat in the film. Insia is a singer and Zaira had to play the character correctly. I’m so impressed with her performance. As an actor, whenever we play a musical instrument, we often try to play it accurately. [Zaira] has gone a step further; she has spent a lot of time with [singer] Meghna Mishra, because she wanted to understand how to sing.”
Aamir Khan (inset) is producing Secret Superstar, which stars Zaira Wasim