Pooja Hegde (born 13 October 1990) is an Indian actress and model who appears predominantly in Telugu and Hindi films. She was crowned as the second runner-up at the Miss Universe India 2010 competition. She made her debut in Tamil film Mysskin's Mugamoodi (2012). She made her Telugu film debut alongside Naga Chaitanya in Oka Laila Kosam (2014). In 2016, she made her Hindi film debut alongside Hrithik Roshan in Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro.[2]

Pooja Hegde
Pooja Hegde snapped when graced the Four Seasons new lounge launch 2 (01) (cropped).jpg
Hegde in 2017
Born (1990-10-13) 13 October 1990 (age 31)[1]
Alma materM. M. K. College
  • Actress
  • model
Years active2012–present

She then went onto to play the lead in successful films such as Mukunda (2014), Duvvada Jagannadham (2017), Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava (2018), Maharshi (2019), Gaddalakonda Ganesh (2019), Housefull 4 (2019), Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2020) and Most Eligible Bachelor (2021).

Early lifeEdit

Pooja Hegde was born and brought up in Mumbai, Maharashtra in a Tulu-speaking Bunt family.[3][4] Her parents Manjunath Hegde and Latha Hegde.[5] They are originally from Udupi, Karnataka.[6] She also has an elder brother Rishabh Hegde, who is an orthopaedic surgeon.[citation needed] She is fluent in Tulu, English and Hindi.[7] She went to M. M. K. College, where she regularly participated in dance and fashion shows.[8]


2009–2013: Career beginningsEdit

Hegde at the Red Carpet event of LoveScotch

Hegde competed in the Miss India 2009 competition, but was eliminated in an early round despite winning the Miss India Talented 2009 honour. She re-applied the following year and was the second runner-up in the Miss Universe India 2010 competition, while also being crowned Miss India South Glamorous Hair 2010 in the subsidiary competition.

She made her acting debut in Mysskin's Tamil superhero film Mugamoodi (2012) opposite Jiiva, portraying the female lead character of Shakthi, a fun-loving girl who inspires the male lead to change his outlook on society. She was selected after Mysskin had seen still photographs from her pageant success, and Hegde helped practice Tamil dialogue for the film by writing and memorising words in English, adding that the similarity between Tamil and her native tongue Tulu was also useful. Prior to release, the film garnered high expectations as a result of the novel theme of a superhero in Tamil films and the film took a grand opening at the box office in August 2012. However, the film received mixed to negative reviews from critics, hampering its progress, and the film ended up becoming a surprise commercial failure.[9] Hegde's performance also received mixed reviews with a critic from Sify.com citing that she "disappoints", though a critic from The Hindu noted "she doesn’t have much scope for talent display.[10] She earned a nomination for the Best Tamil Female Debut Actress at the 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards, but lost out to Lakshmi Menon.[11]

2014–2019: Debut in Telugu and Hindi cinemaEdit

Hegde's second film release, the Telugu film Oka Laila Kosam (2014), featured her opposite Naga Chaitanya. She was praised for her performance in the movie. Around the same time, she bagged the nomination for Best Actress at the 62nd Filmfare Awards (South).[12] Following a production house and the success of the director Vijay Konda's previous venture, had prompted her to work on the project. She undertook Telugu lessons to help her portray the leading female role. In her second Telugu film, Hegde impressed many with her memorable performance in Gopikamma song from Mukunda (2014). It was a romantic-action tale, set in the backdrop of a village, released in late 2014.[13][14]

In July 2014, Hegde agreed terms to make her Bollywood debut opposite Hrithik Roshan in Ashutosh Gowariker's period film Mohenjo Daro, set against the backdrop of the Indus Valley civilisation. She was selected after Gowariker's wife had spotted her in an advertisement and called her to audition, which she successfully completed.[15][16] As a result of her commitment to the film, she revealed that she would take a break from appearing in regional Indian movies until her Hindi film's release and rejected an opportunity to work in a film directed by Mani Ratnam.[17][18] Mohenjo Daro released in 2016 which was panned by critics[19] and became major box office flop.[20] In 2017, she appeared in Telugu-language vigilante action comedy film Duvvada Jagannadham alongside actor Allu Arjun.[21]

In 2018, Hegde featured in three Telugu films. The first is a special appearance in the song "Jigelu Rani" for the period action Rangasthalam. Later in Saakshyam, alongside Bellamkonda Sreenivas[22] and Trivikram Srinivas-directed action-drama Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava, opposite Jr. NTR.[23] In 2019 too, she made an appearance in three films which are Maharshi, Gaddalakonda Ganesh and Housefull 4. Maharshi is a Telugu film directed by Vamsi Paidipally co-starring by Mahesh Babu. It received mixed reviews on release.[24] Her second Telugu film in the same year was action-thriller the Harish Shankar-directed action thriller film Gaddalakonda Ganesh, a remake of the 2014 Tamil-language film Jigarthanda, featuring Varun Tej and Atharvaa along with her.[25] Hegde returned to Bollywood after a gap of three years with Sajid Nadiadwala's comedy film directed by Farhad Samji, featuring her as Rajkumari Mala and Pooja (reincarnated),[26] which went on to gross over 280 crore worldwide.[27]

2020–present: Commercial success and future filmsEdit

Her 2020 Telugu-language action drama film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, alongside Allu Arjun and directed by Trivikram, became one of the highest-grossing Telugu films of all time, grossing over 250 crore.[28] In 2021, Hegde starred in Most Eligible Bachelor, directed by Bommarillu Bhaskar opposite Akhil Akkineni in which she played the role of a stand-up comedian.[29][30]

Her upcoming projects include the romantic multilingual film Radhe Shyam with Prabhas, the Koratala Siva-directed film Acharya alongside Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan, the Hindi film Cirkus directed by Rohit Shetty where she is playing one of the female leads opposite Ranveer Singh and the Tamil film Beast opposite Vijay, which will mark her return to Tamil cinema after 9 years.[31][32][33][34][35]

In February 2020, Hegde was cast in Salman Khan's upcoming film Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali, directed by Farhad Samji, which was later titled as Bhaijaan.[36][37] In August 2021, it was announced that she will appear in Mahesh Babu and Trivikram Srinivas’ next film, collaborating with Mahesh for the second time and with Trivikram for the third consecutive time.[38]


  Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role(s) Language(s) Notes Ref.
2012 Mugamoodi Shakthi Tamil Tamil debut [39]
2014 Oka Laila Kosam Nandana "Nandu" Telugu Telugu debut [40]
Mukunda Gopika Telugu [41]
2016 Mohenjo Daro Chaani Hindi Hindi debut [42]
2017 Duvvada Jagannadham Pooja[43] Telugu [44]
2018 Rangasthalam Herself Telugu Special appearance in the song "Jigelu Rani" [45]
Saakshyam Soundarya Lahari Telugu [46]
Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava Aravinda Telugu [47]
2019 Maharshi Pooja Telugu [48]
Gaddalakonda Ganesh Sridevi Telugu [49]
Housefull 4 Rajkumari Mala / Pooja Hindi [50]
2020 Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo Amulya Telugu [51]
2021 Most Eligible Bachelor Vibha Telugu [52]
2022 Radhe Shyam   Prerana Telugu Post-production [53]
Acharya   Neelambari Telugu Post-production [55]
Beast   TBA Tamil Filming [56]
Cirkus   TBA Hindi Filming [57]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Pooja Hegde awards and nominations
Hegde at filmfare redcarpet
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up, and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
Year Film Award Category Result Ref.
2013 Mugamoodi South Indian International Movie Awards Best Female Debutant – Tamil Nominated [58]
2015 Oka Laila Kosam South Indian International Movie Awards Best Female Debut – Telugu Nominated [59]
2015 Filmfare Awards South Best Actress – Telugu Nominated [60]
2016 Mohenjo Daro Stardust Awards Best Debut – Female Nominated [61]
2017 Duvvada Jagannadham Zee Golden Awards Entertainer Of The Year (Female) Won [62]
2019 Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava Filmfare Awards South Best Actress – Telugu Nominated [63][64]
Sakshi Excellence Awards Best Actress Won [65]
2020 Maharshi South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress – Telugu Nominated [66]
2020 Zee Cine Awards Telugu Favourite Actress Won [67]
2021 Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo Sakshi Excellence Awards Best Actress Won [68][69]
2021 South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress – Telugu Won [70]


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  29. ^ "Pooja Hegde to romance Akhil Akkineni, DETAILS INSIDE". PINKVILLA.
  30. ^ "Doing stand-up comedy for a film is tough - Pooja Hegde". Filmfare.
  31. ^ "Buzz: Pooja Hegde allocates Prabhas' Jaan dates to Akhil Akkineni's film - Times of India". The Times of India.
  32. ^ "Pooja Hegde signs Acharya, to join sets on February 9". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
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  35. ^ "Pooja Hegde wishes to learn THIS quality from her 'Cirkus' co-star Ranveer Singh". Times of India. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
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  40. ^ "Pooja Hegde anxious on the sets of Oka Laila Kosam". The Times of India. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  41. ^ "Varun Tej, Pooja Hegde's 'Mukunda' creates buzz with its first trailer; distributors bid high for movie rights". CNN-News18. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
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External linksEdit