"Dangal" actor Zaira Wasim's decision to quit films, on grounds that her work interfered in her faith, has put her in the crosshairs of debate with Congress and NC politicos saying it was her personal choice while a Shiv Sena leader described it as a disservice to her religion.
In a detailed post on her Facebook page on Sunday, the 18-year-old Kashmiri-born actor said she had completed five years in the profession and wanted to confess that she was not "truly happy with this identity", that is her line of work.
Among those who spoke out on her decision were Congress leader Milind Deora, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah and Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi.
"Phoneys suddenly lecturing on #ZairaWaseem & #NusratJahan. I have Hindu & Jain friends right here in SoBo who renounced cushy careers for their gurus & faith. You can choose whether religion determines your career or love life. Unless minors, let others decide for themselves," tweeted Congress leader Milind Deora.
He also made a reference to newly married and newly elected Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan who has been criticised by hardline Muslim clerics for wearing 'sindoor' and the 'mangalsutra' and refuses to toe their line.
Abdullah said no one had the right to question Wasim's decision.
"Who are any of us to question @ZairaWasimmm's choices? It's her life to do with as she pleases. All I will do is wish her well & hope that what ever she does makes her happy," he said on Twitter.
Taking a different tack, Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi said in a series of posts that while everyone had the right to practise their faith, it "should not be used sound intolerant to career choices, which it clearly isn't".
"This actually does a huge disservice to her religion & reinforces the narrative about Islam being intolerant.
"Hindi cinema has seen many success stories of people from the same faith, does her reason imply that all these stalwarts didn't know their religion? Some equate her decision to that of Vinod Khanna, did he say his religion says that his choice of career blocks his faith?", she said.
Wasim said in her post, which she later shared on other social media platforms, that she felt like she had struggled to become someone else for a very long time.
"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.
"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', my relationship with my religion was threatened," she said.