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Pooja Hegde
Actor • Special Appearances
Born: October 13, 1990 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
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About
Pooja Hegde is an Indian actress and model, who finished as the second runner-up at the Miss Universe India competition in 2010. Achieving recognition as a model, Pooja then made her foray into acting with South Indian films. She made her acting debut in Mysskin`s Tamil movie, Mugamoodi. The movie released in 2012 and it had Jiiva, Narain, Nassar and Girish Karnad in pivotal roles.
Early Life
Born and brought up in Mumbai, Pooja is a native of Mangalore. She fluently speaks Hindi, Tulu, Kannada, Marathi, and English. She completed her schooling from Maneckji Cooper Education Trust School and is an M.Com graduate from MMK College, Mumbai. Pooja developed her networking skills while she helped her mother in her network marketing business, while she was still in college. She also regularly participated in inter-college dance and fashion competitions, which further boosted her confidence.
Movie Career
Before making a mark in the film industry, Pooja began her journey as a model. Her modeling career took off in a topsy-turvy manner as she had to suffer an early exit from Miss India 2009 competition despite winning the title of Miss India Talented 2009. However, the following year, Pooja re-applied in the competition and went on to become the runner-up at Miss India 2010 competition. She also bagged the title of Miss India South Glamorous Hair 2010 in the subsidiary competition. Following her success at the competition, Pooja entered the acting world and made her acting debut with Mysskin`s Tamil superhero movie, Mugamoodi (2012). Pooja`s debut role: Pooja portrayed the character of a fun-loving girl, Shakthi, who changes the lead character, Anandan`s (portrayed by Jiiva) perspective towards the society.

Mysskin selected Pooja to play the lead after scanning through her photographs from the Miss India event. To attain fluency in Tamil, Pooja practiced writing the words in English and the similarities in Tamil and her native language, Tulu, helped her prepare for the role. Being a Tamil superhero movie, it generated immense curiosity amongst the audience. However, the movie failed to impress the audience and opened to negative reviews. Pooja`s performance was also criticized, with The Hindu quoting "she doesn`t have much scope for talent display."

Two years later, in 2012, Pooja appeared in the Telugu movie, Oka Laila Kosam, opposite Naga Chaitanya. Impressing everyone with her performance, Pooja was highly praised for her acting. She also took Telugu lessons for her role. After a gap of two years, in 2014, Pooja appeared in her second Telugu movie, Mukunda, directed by Srikanth Addala. The movie marked the debut of actor Varun Tej, the nephew of actor Chiranjeevi, and received a positive response at the box office.

In the same year, Pooja bagged a lead role in Ashutosh Gowarikar`s period drama, Mohenjo Daro, opposite Hrithik Roshan. The movie is scheduled to release in August 2016. It was Ashutosh Gowarikar`s wife, Sunita, who spotted Pooja in an advertisement and later called her to audition for the role. Being committed to work in her debut Bollywood movie, Pooja revealed that she would not sign any regional movie until Mohenjo Daro is released. More so, she even rejected an opportunity to work with the acclaimed director, Mani Ratnam. In 2017 the actress appeared alongside Allu Arjun in the Telugu movie Duvvada Jagannadham directed by Harish Shankar. Her 2018 releases include Rangasthalam, Race 3, Saakshyam and Aravindha Sametha. In 2019 she played a lead role in the comedy Housefull 4. Her 2020 release includes Angu Vaikuntapurathu, directed by Trivikram Srinivas.
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Did You Know? (6)

  • Pooja Hegde is the first heroine that Allu Arjun has done more than one movie with.
  • In 2009, Pooja participated in the Miss India beauty pageant but was eliminated in an early round. She then re-applied the following year at the Miss Universe India beauty pageant, in 2010, where she was crowned as the second runner-up.
  • Though Pooja Hegde had appeared in Tollywood movies like Oka Laila Kosam (2014) and Duvvada Jagannadham (2017) before, Aravindha Sametha (2018) was the first film where the actress dubbed for herself in Telugu language.
  • Before her Bollywood debut, Pooja was seen in a number of advertisements, including a commercial with Ranbir Kapoor for Hero Maestro.
  • While shooting for Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro, Pooja had taken a break from working in regional movies since she wanted to focus of her Bollywood debut. This cost her a chance to work with award-winning director Mani Ratnam.
  • It was one of Pooja’s commercial appearances that was noticed by Ashutosh Gowariker's wife, who then suggested that she could be a part of the 2016 historical drama Mohenjo Daro
  • Personal Quotes (7)

  • "I would never say my journey has been smooth, it`s been a roller coaster ride. "
  • "You know, luck is when opportunity meets hard work. Getting into Bollywood was not easy, nor was it difficult. I am someone who thinks that if you want something very earnestly, you`ll get it."
  • "I was always a lost child. When people asked my brother what he wanted to be, he would always say that he wanted to be a doctor! And I used to ask him, `How do you know that?` Because I just never knew!"
  • "I`ve worked with some wonderful people in Telugu before I made my debut in Bollywood. I can`t explain why, but I`ve always felt a connection with Telugu cinema. The experience of working with Allu Arjun and Harish Shankar was fabulous. Harish is the funniest director I`ve worked with and there`s never a dull moment when he`s around. And Allu Arjun? He`s a very generous actor and never hesitated to offer me some tips."
  • "Somewhere I do feel that I am blessed that I have come this far. But I have a long way to go and a lot more to prove. "
  • "I work in the film industry and we run on happy endings! I see mine with this really affectionate, handsome guy in a beautiful mansion by the sea, with dogs of course. "
  • "I was a tomboy - short hair, wore braces and was skinny as a teenager. I can`t remember if I wore heels. No one thought I was going to be actress. I didn`t aspire to be an actress. I always dreamt of the lifestyle that I wanted to have. I never knew what would I do, but knew what I wanted from that phase of life."
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