Zerifa Wahid is an Indian film actress and producer who is known for her work in the Assamese film industry. She is known for playing the role of Ranjana Bora in the movie ‘Baandhon’ directed by Jahnu Baruah, which was released in 2012 and won the award for Best Feature Film in Assamese at the 60th National Film Awards. In 2012, it also won the award at the Indian Films Competition held at Bengaluru International Film Festival for Best Film.
Zerifa Wahid was born on Saturday, 18 August 1979 (age 44 years; as of 2022) in Lakhimpur, Assam, India. Her zodiac sign is Leo. She went to Nichols high school in Guwahati, Assam. She started working in the film industry at a very young age. She began her acting career as a child in 1990 by debuting in the Assamese film ‘Abhimaan.’ Zerifa was a studious student and was good at academics.
She went to Cotton College in Guwahati to pursue BA Hons in History, and she then went to Delhi to pursue her post-graduation in History from the University of Delhi. She studied law at J B Law College in Guwahati. She followed her passion and went on to work in many Assamese feature films, TV commercials, music albums, and video songs.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark brown
Parents & Siblings
Zerifa belongs to an Assamese Muslim family. Her father’s name is Wahid Ullah, and her mother’s name is Inoo Hazarika. She has one elder sister named Jenifa Wahid (Joya).
In one of her Instagram posts, Zerifa Wahid termed a person as her soulmate.
In 1990, Zerifa Wahid made her acting debut as a child artist in the Assamese film ‘Abhimaan.’ Later, she appeared in many more Assamese films like ‘Agnigarh’ (1994), ‘Atikram’ (1994), ‘Antaheen Jatra’ (2004), and ‘Bhoga Khirikee’ (2018). She is known for playing a variety of roles, for example, in ‘Antaheen Jatra’, she played the character of a rural girl. A few of her popular movies are ‘Anya Ek Jatra,’ ‘Gun Gun Gane Gane,’ ‘Seuji Dharani Dhuniya,’ ‘Ahir Bhairav’ and many more. ‘Ahir Bhairav’ is the first Assamese feature film, which was completely shot in London, and in this film, Zerifa played the character of a schizophrenic. In 2012, at the International Film Festival of India held in Goa, the film ‘Baandhon’ was the inaugural film in the Indian Panorama Section.
In 2016, her feature film ‘Kothanodi: The River of Fables,’ which was directed by Bhaskar Hazarika premiered at the Busan International Film Festival 2015. The film was screened in many prominent film festivals including BFI London Film Festival, MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival, Gothenburg Film Festival, and many more, and at the 63rd National Film Awards in 2016, the film won the Rajat Kamal for Best Film in the Assamese language.
She has acted in many theatrical productions including ‘Nagamandala’ by Girish Karnad. In 2012, Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards chose Girish Karnad’s ‘Nagamandala’ for ten nominations.
After graduating from J B Law College, she started practising law in the Guwahati High Court as an advocate.
She is the first Assamese actress to have her own production house named “Zerifa Wahid Productions.” She was a part of the theatre movement in Assam when she performed in multiple stage plays; she has produced and acted in many popular plays such as ‘The Fire And The Rain’ by Girish Karnad, ‘Five Finger Exercise’ by Peter Shaffer who was a British Playwright, and more.
Zerifa in a still from the theatre play ‘Nagamandala’Many famous plays were staged under her production house, one of them was Padmashree Arun Sarma’s play ‘Purush’ and another play was ‘NAPOLEON’ which was staged at Rabindra Bhawan, Guwahati. ‘NAPOLEON’ got so popular among the audience and media that it was staged several times later on. To take the production value to the next level, Zerifa proposed to celebrate the festival of plays named ‘JUST THEATRE’ in the months of October and November 2014 in Guwahati. Three plays were staged at that festival which were ‘Nagamandala,’ ‘Napoleon,’ and ‘Love Letters’ by A. R. Gurney. In 2016, Girish Karnad’s play ‘Wedding Album’ was hugely appreciated by the viewers and it had to be showcased multiple times.
Zerifa has also made her contribution as a social worker. She is involved in the endorsement of the IT brand named DATAMATION. She is also the ambassador for the Assam Autism Foundation and Special Olympics Bharat (Assam Chapter).
Criticizing OTT Platforms
According to Zerifa, she opened her own production house to enhance Assamese Cinema and produce good quality work. Despite making significant contributions to the Indian Cinema, Zerifa feels that OTT platforms are not welcoming her work and other Assamese or Northeast actors and directors, and they are not getting the required spotlight in the mainstream industry. In an interview, she said,
In the international film festival circuit, Assamese films are quite well known now due to the works of Sanjay Hazarika, the late Bidyut Chakraborty and Jahnu Barua, who bring film awards to India every year. The director Rajat Kamal brings many awards. Jahnu Barua has received nineteen National Film Awards! But when it comes to the commercial aspect, we are not being welcomed by OTT platforms. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and Zee5 all have a large catalogue of many Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Punjabi films. But not Assamese films. There have been new Assamese films since 2011, almost 30 to 40, which are such good films that have done well nationally and internationally. But the attitude of people themselves is not welcoming. We, the Assamese and Northeast people, are shy and don’t know how to approach the market or sell products. There is an absence of marketing skills. We don’t expose ourselves or put ourselves out there. Many filmmakers are happy with their films being selected in some film festivals but they are not interested in earning the money back. So the problem lies with us personally.”
- Won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Female for the Assamese film ‘Agnisakshi’ at the State Film Awards in Assam in 2003
- Won the award for Best Actress for ‘Dwaar’ at the first Filmfare Awards East in 2014
- She has an interest in singing and dancing.
- Zerifa is an animal lover and keeps posting pictures with puppies on social media.
- She likes to follow a healthy lifestyle and is a fitness enthusiast.
- Zerifa was a member of Raijor Dal, but in 2021, she left Raijor Dal and joined AJP (Assam Jatiya Parishad). On account of her changing parties, in an interview, she said,
I may sound like a fool, like a young politician, but we lack genuine political figures. Hopefully, I can fill that role and do something good for our community.”
- Zerifa Wahid is the brand ambassador for Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya’s eye donating campaign in Assam and pledged that she will donate eyes to the hospital after her demise.