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Pooja Gandhi (born Sanjana Gandhi in 1983)[2] is an Indian actress and producer, who mainly works in Kannada language films and also appears in Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Hindi. Gandhi after starring in the commercially successful 2006 film Mungaru Male, become one of the most popular and highest paid actresses in South Indian cinema and also the recipient of several awards.[3][4][5] Gandhi popularly came to be known as 'Male Hudugi' (Rain Girl) in the media and Kannada film industry.[6][7]

Pooja Gandhi
Puja during Karimedu film promotion.jpg
Personal details
Sanjana Gandhi

(1983-10-07) 7 October 1983 (age 36)[1]
Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Political partyJanata Dal (Secular) – Present
Other political

Gandhi made her film debut in 2003 with a Bengali film Tomake Salam and Tamil film Kokki in 2006. Since then, she has played lead roles in commercially successful films such as Mungaru Male (2006), Milana (2007), Krishna (2007), Taj Mahal (2008), Budhivanta (2008), Anu (2009), Gokula (2009), Dandupalya (2012) and Dandupalya 2 (2017). Gandhi has acted in more than 50 films in a decade.[8][9]

She joined the Janata Dal (Secular) party in 2012 by taking the membership of the party.[10] She soon hopped onto KJP party and later to the BSR Congress party and contested the Karnataka assembly elections from Raichur constituency.[11] However, she was defeated in the elections and did not win any seat from the constituency.[12]

Early years and personal life

Gandhi was born in Meerut[13] into a traditional Punjabi family. Her father, Pawan Gandhi, is a businessman and her mother, Jyothi Gandhi, is a housewife. She studied at Sophia Convent and Dewan Public School in Meerut. She has two younger sisters – Radhika Gandhi, who is also an actress in Kannada films, and Suhani Gandhi, a tennis player.[13][14]

Gandhi got engaged in November 2012 but ended the relationship the following month.[15]


Debut (2003)

Gandhi started her career by acting in TV soaps, starting with Zameen Se Aassman Tak directed by Aruna Irani.[13] She made her debut at the age of 19 in the Bengali film Tomake Salam, released in 2003. She moved to the South Indian film industry with the Tamil film Kokki (2006). The film earned moderate reviews and had a successful run at the box office.[14]

Initial success and fame in Kannada (2006–08)

Gandhi during shooting of Tamil film Kokki in 2006

Her debut in the Kannada film industry was with Mungaru Male,[16] The film was the first in India for any language to be screened for continuously one year in a multiplex,[17] and ultimately ran over 865-days[18] in Karnataka.[19][20] She then acted in the movie Milana with Puneeth Rajkumar, upon theatrical release on 14 September 2007, the film saw commercial success and completed a 500-day run in theatres. Later the film was dubbed into Malayalam as Ishtam Enikkishtam.[21]

In 2008, she starred in the financially successful[22] Kannada language film Taj Mahal with Ajay Rao. She was nominated for a Filmfare Best Actress Award, while Sify's critic wrote that "Pooja Gandhi looks pretty and has done a good job.[23] Her next movie was Budhivanta alongside Upendra. It became the highest grossing Kannada film of 2008.[24]

Her first 2009 release was Anu, which was the remake of Telugu movie Anusuya starring Bhumika Chawla. Other Kannada movies that Gandhi acted in include Hucchi, Iniya, and Ninagaagi Kadiruve. Other movies from 2009 include the Tamil film Thalai Ezhuthu, and Gokula in which she starred with Vijaya Raghavendra and Yash. The film opened on 27 November 2009.[25]

She made her debut in Hindi film with I Am 2011, together with Juhi Chawla. 'I Am' received mainly positive reviews from critics. The Times of India called it "an important and intelligent film"[26] and The Film Street Journal named it "a must watch".[27] In 2012 'I Am' won the National Award for Best Hindi Film and Best Lyrics.[28]

Critical acclaim and accolades (2013–18)

Gandhi during inauguration of hotel spa in Bangalore in 2015

Gandhi received Filmfare Award for Best Kannada Actress and Suvarna Fimfare Award for Best Actress for her performance in Dandupalya. The film was dubbed in Telugu and released as Dandupalyam. It was well received in Andhra Pradesh.[29]

A Tamil dub titled Karimedu was produced by Rama Narayanan's Sri Thenandal Films and released on 24 May 2013 to critical acclaim. it was hit in Tamil Nadu.[30][31] The film was dubbed in Malayalam and was titled as Kuruthikalam.

Gandhi has signed up to make her Tulu language film debut in Beere Devupoonje, playing the role of Raja Nartaki. The film, produced and directed by R. Dhanraj, will be based on a Tulu warrior named Devapoonja who lived 400 years ago.[32]


Gandhi joined the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) party on 18 January 2012.[33]

She then joined briefly the KJP, but she finally contested the 2013 Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections from Raichur on a BSR Congress ticket. This first attempt at public office proved unsuccessful.[34]


  Denotes films that have not yet been released
# Year Film Role Language Notes
1 2002 Dushmani Hindi
2 2003 Tomake Salam Ankita Bengali
3 2006 Kokki Raji Tamil
4 Mungaru Male Nandini Kannada Kannad Debut

Won Filmfare award

5 2007 Milana Priya extends cameo appearance
6 Krishna Pooja Suvarna Film Awards for Best Actress[35]
7 Manmatha herself Special appearance
8 Geleya Herself Special appearance in song "Hudugi Malebillu"
9 2008 Vaitheeswaran Sanjana Tamil
10 Hani Hani Pooja Kannada
11 Accident Pooja
12 Kaamannana Makkalu herself Special appearance
13 Nee Tata Naa Birla Pooja
14 Taj Mahal Shruthi Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Kannada Actress[36]
15 Kodagana Koli Nungitha Lakshmi
16 Budhivanta Pooja
17 Maharshi Manasa Veena
18 Janumada Gelathi Manjula
19 Thiruvannamalai Malathy Tamil
20 Haage Summane Nandini Kannada Special appearance
21 2009 Anu Anu
22 Thalai Ezhuthu Pooja Tamil
23 Iniya Janaki Kannada
24 Huchchi Preethi
25 Ninagaagi Kaadiruve Shweta Nandan
26 Gokula Leela
27 2010 Minugu Sanchitha
28 Sri Harikathe Pooja Krishnamurthy
29 Nee Raani Naa Maharani Rani /
Pooja Gandhi
30 Vega herself
31 2011 Thavarina Runa Ramya
32 Aptha Anjali Devi
33 Nee Illadhe Sharanya
34 I Am Aparna Hindi
35 Hare Rama Hare Krishna Rakshita Kannada
36 Panchamrutha
37 Jogayya Advocate Cameo appearance
38 Paagal Pooja
39 2012 Dandupalya Lakshmi Suvarna Film Award for Best Actress
SIIMA Award for Best Actress in a Negative Role
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
40 Jaihind Anjali [37]
41 Hosa Prema Purana herself
42 2013 Maad Dad Lisa Malayalam
43 Director's Special Herself Kannada Special appearance in song "Kannalle eshottu kolltiya"
44 2014 Kalyanamasthu Radha
45 2015 Abhinetri Sharat Lata / Nanda Also producer[38]
46 Thippaji Circle Thippajji
47 2016 Kathe Chitrakathe Nirdeshana Puttanna Herself Guest appearance[39]
48 2017 Jilebi Jilebi
49 Dandupalya 2 Kempi Dubbed in Telugu as Dandupalyam 2
50 2018 Dandupalya 3 Lakshmi Dubbed in Telugu as Dandupalyam 3
As producer
Year Film Language Cast
2015 Abhinetri Kannada Pooja Gandhi

Awards and nominations

Awards won 2
Nominations 3


Year[a] Category Award Film Result
2008 Best Actress Suvarna Film Awards Krishna Won[35]
2009 Best Actress Filmfare Awards South Taj Mahal Nominated[40]
2013 Best Actress in a Negative Role South Indian International Movie Awards Dandupalya Won[41]
  1. ^ Refers to the year in which the ceremony was held.

Television shows

No Year Title Television Notes
1 2016 Bigg Boss Kannada 3 Colors Kannada Finale contestant


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Sanjana rechristened as Pooja Gandhi". Indiaglitz. 10 April 2007.
  3. ^ "Gandhi is one of the highest paid actresses".
  4. ^ "Raining troubles for male girl".
  5. ^ "Yeddyurappa ropes in Kannada filmstars to add to KJP's populist appeal". indiatoday.
  6. ^ "Pooja Gandhi known to her fans as `Male Hudugi` (Rain Girl)".
  7. ^ "Pooja Gandhi who is always referred as the 'Male Hudugi' (Rain Girl) of the Kannada film industry".
  8. ^ "Sriramulu steals star power from Yeddyurappa as Pooja Gandhi joins BSR Congress". indiatoday.
  9. ^ a b "Bigg Boss: Pooja Gandhi, Master Anand enter finale". timesofindia.
  10. ^ "Pooja Gandhi takes a plunge into politics, formally joins JD(S)". Filmibeat. 19 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Pooja Gandhi to fight elections". The Times of India.
  12. ^ "Pooja Gandhi loses election". The Times of India.
  13. ^ a b c "Mischievous to spiritual with movies in between". Times of India. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  14. ^ a b "". Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Actor Pooja Gandhi breaks up with fiance". 19 December 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  16. ^ Super Admin (29 July 2009). "Pooja Gandhi debuting in Bollywood movie". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  17. ^ "'Mungaru Male' National record". Correspondent. IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  18. ^ "'Mungaru Male' the first film to Celebrate 865-days in Karnataka". newindianexpress.
  19. ^ "Premer Kahini - ScreenIndia.Com". Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  20. ^ Imran, Ranbir in 'Mungaru Male' Bolly remake. (1970-01-01). Retrieved on 2016-02-15.
  21. ^ "Prithvi 50 days Raam 25 weeks!". 11 June 2010. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  22. ^ "'Taj Mahal' the winner!". IndiaGlitz. 8 November 2008.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "2008– Top 5 films at the box-office". Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  25. ^ Gokula is a treat to watch. (2009-11-27). Retrieved on 2016-02-15.
  26. ^ Malani, Gaurav (29 April 2011). "I AM: Movie Review". Times of India. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  27. ^ "Review Of I Am". Film Street Journal. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  28. ^ "Vidya Balan wins National Award for 'The Dirty Picture'". The Times Of India.
  29. ^ "Dandupalya dubbed version a hit". The Times of India. 31 January 2013.
  30. ^ "Pooja Gandhi's Dandupalya is now Karimedu in Tamil". 9 May 2013.
  31. ^ "Movie review: 'Karimedu' – spine chilling, realistic". Indo-Asian News Service. 24 May 2013.
  32. ^ "Pooja Gandhi to make Tulu movie debut". The Hindu. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  33. ^ "Actress Pooja Gandhi joins JDS". Mangalore Today. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  34. ^ "Karnataka polls: Actress Pooja Gandhi badly flops in Raichur". 8 May 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  35. ^ a b "Suvarna Awards". Deccan Herald.
  36. ^ Srinidhi, Sharadha (26 July 2009). "Looking forward to meet Ramya: Radhika". Times of India. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  37. ^ "Pooja Gandhi turns patriotic in 'Jai Hind' | Film Reviews". 12 November 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  38. ^ "The rise and fall of an actress". 1 February 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  39. ^ "Pooja Gandhi returns to the big screen". The Times of India. 28 December 2015.
  40. ^ Srinidhi, Sharadha (26 July 2009). "Looking forward to meet Ramya: Radhika". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  41. ^ "South Indian International Movie Awards". The Hindu.

External links