In a span of just four years since her Telugu debut in Oka Laila Kosam, Pooja Hegde has gone on to become one of the most sought-after actors. Talking about her performance in her recent film, Saakshyam, which was liked by the audience, she says, “I’m glad people enjoyed my performance. I’m happy with the opportunities coming my way, given that I don’t hail from a family with a cinema background. I want to do more films, and work across genres. I promise to always remain a student of cinema.”
The actor, who didn’t have the greatest of beginnings, has shown the resolve to bounce back and is now at a place where she’s giving many of her counterparts a run for their money. “I had some initial setbacks, yes, but I don’t think I was ever written off. After Mukunda, I was flooded with offers, but I couldn’t grab them owing to my Mohenjo Daro commitments. However, I have no regrets, and it all went into making me who I am today,” she says.
Pooja is quite happy with the kind of films she has been part of lately. “‘Gopikamma’ song from Mukunda gave me a major breakthrough. An advertisement I did with Ranbir Kapoor fetched me the opportunity to work alongside Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro. Also, DJ opened me up to glamour roles. These opportunities have furthered my career.”Currently, Pooja has four films—three Telugu and one Hindi—in her kitty. “I’m passionate about them, and I want to prove that I’m special. You will see this in all my upcoming films,” she says.
The actor, who plays one of the female leads in the upcoming Bollywood film, Housefull 4, finds comedy to be a difficult business. “When you have to perform with veterans such as Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh, who have terrific comic timing, it’s not easy at all.” Pooja says she has learned a lot from Akshay Kumar in particular. “I’m always observing the people around me at work. Akshay is an amazing actor, and I learned plenty about the profession from him,” she adds.
Some of the roles she’s doing are rather similar to who she is as a person. “I play Aravinda, a smart, witty and tough girl in Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava. It’s my most favourite character till date, partly because we are very similar. I also find my character from Maharshi—a childlike, yet intelligent and stubborn girl—to be quite relatable. Although it’s difficult to switch between these characters, I am able to do it,” she says.
The actor is excited to work with Baahubali star Prabhas in her next. “I have been longing to work in a love story for some time now and this film has fulfilled my wish. The shooting will commence either in September or October in Europe. Everyone says Prabhas is a down-to-earth person, and I can’t wait to work with him.”
Pooja gets nostalgic as she recalls some fond memories at work. “During Mukunda, I travelled to Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Bhimavaram, and I had a great time gorging on Andhra food. For DJ too, we had a blast and I hope the team comes together for another film soon.” The 27-year-old actor believes that it is her failures that have helped her become better. “If you fear failure, it’s better to sit at home doing nothing.”