Pooja Hegde is making waves as the most exciting Bollywood female debutants of 2016. She may be new to Bollywood but has already made a name for herself in films including the 2015 Telugu film Mukunda and the 2014 film Oka Laila Kosam, among others.
Media reports suggest that Pooja turned a project with acclaimed director Mani Ratnam as she doesn't want to appear in any other Bollywood film before the release of her Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro.
The film stars Hrithik Roshan in the lead and is set in the ancient city of Mohenjo Daro - in the era of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Pooja will be seen playing his love interest. Mohenjo Daro is scheduled for release in August 2016.
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Here are a few facts about Pooja:
1. She was the second runner-up at Miss Universe India 2010. After this, she went on to work in Tollywood, where she made a debut with Mysskin's Tamil 2012 superhero film Mugamoddi.
2. Although she finds her roots in Mangalore, Karnataka, Pooja was born and raised in Mumbai itself. She speaks five languages - Tulu, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi and English.
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3. It was not Ashutosh Gowariker or Hrithik who spotted her. In fact, Pooja was spotted by Ashutosh's wife who saw her in an advertisement and recommended her to her husband - who was searching for a fresh face for the film.
4. While the details about the film are being kept under wraps, rumours around Pooja's link-up with Hrithik spread like wildfire a few months ago. However, she had then commented:
"You have no clue how many people have been asking me about this. The rumours don't affect me at all. As a matter of fact, there's nothing to say about it. People can think what they want, but Hrithik and I are just good friends. He's pretty chilled out and we share a good rapport."
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5. She has starred in a Hero Maestro advertisement opposite Ranbir Kapoor.
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6. Pooja is an ardent Roger Federer fan. So much so that she seldom misses a game even if it is after a tiring shoot. Check out these tweets: