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Posted at: Mar 28, 2016, 1:02 AM; last updated: Mar 28, 2016, 1:02 AM (IST)

More Valley youth trying their luck on silver screen

Rifat Mohidin

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 27

Youth in the Valley are now trying to make their presence felt on the silver screen. In the last two years, many young faces have made their debut in movies like Neerja and Fitoor.

Though the journey for these young actors has not been easy, their experience has been amazing.

Abrar Zahoor, 27, from the old city’s Hawal area, who spent eight years in modelling, made his debut in the recently released movie Neerja.

Neerja is based on the life of Neerja Bhanot — a Chandigarh-born purser — who while saving the life of passengers during the hijack of Pan Am Flight 73 was shot dead in Karachi on September 5, 1986. Abrar played the role of Safrini, the main antagonist in the film.

“I lived in Kashmir till Class X and moved to Chennai and studied there after that. During my study years, I took part in school’s fashion shows. This is how it all started,” he said who lives in Mumbai at present.

Playing the role of a terrorist in the movie was difficult and required a lot of training and hard work. “The role was challenging. I had to learn Arabic and put on 10 kg for the movie,” Abrar added.

He feels being a Kashmiri made no difference for him in the film industry. He said he receives a lot of appreciation for his role in the movie.

“People here have a lot of talent, but they need to come out and explore,” Abrar said who has bagged a lead role in another movie.

Girls from the Valley are equally making their presence felt in the Bollywood. Zaira Wasim, 15, who hails from old Srinagar, landed a role in Aamir Khan’s upcoming movie Dangal.

“Initially my family was reluctant to allow me to work in a movie, but then they agreed. My being in the movie means I am presenting Kashmir there and it was a dream to get a chance to work with such a big star,” Zaira said, who studies in Class X at a missionary school in Srinagar.

She got the chance of working in Dangal through auditions that were held in Mumbai. After returning to the Valley, there was a bit of fear in her mind about society’s reaction. However, she said she was happy after getting a lot of appreciation from her family, friends and neighbours.

“I am focusing on studies right now and in future if I get a better role, I will definitely do it. I learnt a lot while shooting for the movie,” she said.

Fitoor, which is based on Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations and was shot in Kashmir, has featured many fresh faces from the Valley. Rayes Mohiuddin (30), who hails from Abhama, a village in south Kashmir, is playing the role of Aditya Roy Kapoor’s brother Junaid in the movie.

For Rayes, it was his love for acting which made his dream come true and work with the Bollywood team.

“Belonging to a place where there is turmoil, it is a proud moment for me to represent Kashmir. It was a learning experience with all the professionals around. In Kashmir people don’t get a platform to show their talent. For me, it was a dream come true,” he said, who also reached in the pre-finale of reality show India’s Got Talent. The other two from the Valley who have featured in the movie are Aijaz Rah, a local actor and singer, and Sheikh Abrar. In Fitoor, Sheikh has played the childhood role of Aditya Roy Kapoor.

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