New Delhi: Bollywood actor Zaira Wasim`s decision to quit acting has been received with surprise and remorse by people from different walks of life.
Some say that Zaira`s decision should be respected if taken out of choice, while others feel disappointed if she has taken the decision due to any threat or fatwa.
However, many others think that this could merely be a publicity stunt as her film `The Sky is Pink` is scheduled to release on October 11.
Zaira shot into eminence due to her stellar performance in `Dangal` movie. Filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit feels that any form of art brings a person closer to God.
"As a performer, I believe that very few are endowed with the gift of art. Everybody can`t be an actor. I don`t have any problem if you want to retire. However, don`t connect it with religion," he told ANI.
"If you think your career is not going the way you want, then you can retire but don`t say that you are going away from God due to acting," he added.
Expressing concern if she is being pressurised to leave acting, Pandit said: "If you are pressurised either from Pakistan or any terrorist organisation from Kashmir to leave this field, then come out in open and speak about it but don`t give it a religious connotation."
Talking about Zaira`s Instagram post where she talks about `Allah` and `Quran,` Abha Singh, a women activist, said: "My worry is whether this girl has been threatened because she comes from Kashmir."
"I don`t go by what she has written. There is much more than what meets the eye. It is difficult to believe an 18-year-old child writing a letter, where she talks of philosophical things," Singh told ANI. Talking about former chief minister Omar Abdullah`s tweet where he wrote that it was her decision to make her life choices while wishing Zaira happiness in life, Singh said: "The government of Jammu and Kashmir should investigate if there is an outside pressure on her as she is a youth icon."
"Somewhere the fundamentalist forces are either pressurising her or by making her reiterate sending a message to the youth of the country that doesn`t take part in the growth of the country. So when Zaira decides to withdraw, it is not she as an individual but a youth icon who is sending the wrong message to the youth of the country," adds Singh.
Concerned about her safety, Singh said: "I would like the state police to investigate and give her proper security as she must be going to the home state. They must find out whether her family has been taken to ransom or if there are some fundamentalist forces who are systematically conditioning her mind."
However, she also said that this could be a PR exercise as well, as her movie is going to release after a few months.
Another women activist Zeenat Soukat Ali said: "It is her personal decision. We can`t do anything about it. I am not sure if she has taken the decision under any pressure. If not, then we should respect the move."
"If Zaira Wasim is quitting acting because of threat or fatwa, then this is unfortunate; but if she is doing this out of her own will, then we should respect her decision," said BJP leader Shazia Ilmi.
The BJP leader said that Wasim has all the right to listen to her inner consciousness and decide the goals of her life.
"If she feels that she cannot work in the movies because it interferes in her faith and religion, then we should understand this decision of hers," she told ANI.
However, Muslim clerics think that quitting the industry is her personal decision and people should accept it rather than making it an issue.
Maulana Sajid Rashidi said: "It is better late than never. We should welcome the move."
"It could, however, be a publicity stunt as her movie is coming. She has time and again blamed the religious leader of threatening her to stay in the limelight," added Rashidi.
Another cleric Dr Rehan Akhtar Qasami said: "When it comes to any religion, every person is free. People should not make it an issue."
"This is true that Islam prohibits acting in films. The decision to quit is Zaira`s personal decision. Every person has both legal and religious right to take the decision about his or her career," Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi told ANI.
"It`s a welcome step. People should not have a problem with this. As far as I know, there was no pressure on her to take the step," said Firangi.
Welcoming Zaira`s move, Maulana Yasoob Abbas said: "Other actors should also take a cue from her and listen to their inner voice. Women are not an object of exhibition."
Earlier today, Zaira posted a lengthy statement stating the reasons behind her decision to quit Bollywood. The 18-year-old said she is not happy with her current line of work, which has silently and unconsciously transitioned her "out of Imaan".
The actor will be seen essaying a role in `The Sky is Pink,` which also stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar. The shooting of the film was completed in March.