Perhaps, Harshika Poonacha is one of the few heroines in Sandalwood to play the role of a college student in reel life while pursuing a professional course in real life. Poonacha was pursuing her PUC at Christ College when she got the offer to act in the Kannada film PUC in 2008.
“It all happened when film producers started inquiring about me while I was working as an anchor for the TV show Nimmindha Nimagaagi,” recalls Poonacha. Facing the camera was a breeze for Poonacha, who already had the experience as a VJ. “I was thrilled when SR Brothers offered me the lead role in PUC. But I was hesitant to accept it as I wanted to focus on my studies. I finally did so when my parents agreed to support me,” says Poonacha.
A strict dress code — salwar with long kameez — coupled with a vigilant administration left little room for ragging in college. Poonacha, who participated in almost all the culfests as part of the college’s dance troupe was the natural choice for the post of cultural coordinator in college.
After completing PUC in 2007, she joined Cambridge Institute of Technology’s electronic engineering course which she just completed. “Since we were the first batch, there was no ragging problem. We also didn’t rag our juniors,” explains Poonacha. It was not a bed of roses for her to manage both — pursuing engineering and acting in films. However, an active support system comprising classmates, lecturers and parents allowed Poonacha to accomplish both. “My juniors used to do my homework. They never complained and were quite happy,” recalls 21-year-old Poonacha. Of course, how often do you get to have a star as your college-mate. Apart from acting in Kannada films, Poonacha has also done two Tamil films — Vungaveettu Pillai and Ananda Thollai — and a Telugu movie. What are Poonacha’s future plans? “I want to do a film post-production course later,” she says and looks forward to some celluloid experiences.