Indian actress quits Bollywood to follow faith

Actress Zaira Wasim attends 'Secret Superstar' press conference at Wanda Cinema on January 16, 2018 in Beijing, ChinaImage copyright
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Muslim Bollywood actress Zaira Wasim, 18, has announced she will quit acting, saying that the profession “threatened” her relationship with her religion.

“This journey has been exhausting, to battle my soul for so long,” she wrote in a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday.

Indians on social media were quick to react to the news, with many criticising her reasons for quitting.

Ms Wasim rose to fame in 2016, when she starred in Dangal, one of Bollywood’s highest grossing films.

The actress – who is from Indian-administered Kashmir – detailed her struggles in the industry and the impact it has had on her relationship with religion in a Facebook post.

The post has since gone viral, attracting thousands of comments and likes.

“As I had just started to explore and make sense of the things to which I dedicated my time, efforts and emotions and tried to grab hold of a new lifestyle, it was only for me to realise that though I may fit here perfectly, I do not belong here,” she wrote.

“This field indeed brought a lot of love, support, and applause my way, but what it also did was to lead me to a path of ignorance, as I silently and unconsciously transitioned out of imaan [faith]. While I continued to work in an environment that consistently interfered with my imaan [faith], my relationship with my religion was threatened.”

She added that the career often put her in a “vulnerable” position: “It was always so easy to succumb to the environment that damaged my peace, imaan [faith] and my relationship with Allah.”

Her decision sparked a range of reactions on Twitter, with many questioning her reason to “invoke religion” as a factor.

But there were others who came to her defence, including Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ms Wasim’s next movie, The Sky is Pink, could now be her last. The film also stars Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra and is slated for release later this year.

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