Pooja Hegde made a splashing debut last year with Disney-UTV‘s Mohenjo Daro but her background was never primarily in acting. After failing to win the Miss India 2009 titles, she reapplied and got crowned as the second runner-up in the Miss Universe India 2010 competition. Hailing from South India, Pooja made her debut in the South Indian film industry before getting picked up in 2014 (post-auditions) to star in Ashutosh Gowariker’s big budget film, opposite Hrithik Roshan. The plot of the film has grown into one of my favourites of last year: it centers on the Indus Valley civilization (dated 2016BC), which stretched across Northern Afghanistan, Pakistan and North India; the civilization’s native town is Mohenjo-Daro.
In the film, a farmer falls in love with a woman (Channi) from an upper class. Channi, portrayed by Pooja Hegde comes across a woman who must make sacrifices in order to maintain her social standing: she must always be polite and channel a sense of correctness, despite her innocence and desire to fade away from the limelight, because the understanding in Mohenjo Daro is that Channi has magical powers to transform their town. Working with Ashutosh Gowariker has been a constant challenge for Pooja because he is very particular about the shots of a film – Gowariker needs to have each film shot’s every detail correct and finely done, almost as if it has been done with painterly brushstrokes.
When it comes to Hrithik, Pooja had actually seen all the fuss with the young heartthrob, when he had made his debut with Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai (2000) and later she got the chance to evolve into his co-star. That is a story quite rarely heard off – Hrithik and Pooja share a good and comfortable working equation with each other, and it’s pretty evident that that has been translating on-screen with ease. The young actress has had an entirely middle-class upbringing and earlier on she had even entertained thoughts to become a postman. Going from being a tomboy to an actress wasn’t very simple and Pooja credits walking the ramp in towering heels as that defining moment that changed her avatar completely. Pooja loves Bengaluru (the capital of Karnataka), and she is a big foodie as well, surprisingly with a taste for Hyderabadi food like haleem – the Arabic stew, haleem, popular in India (and Bangladesh) only conjures an image of tasty calories, in my mind.