Pooja Hegde is an Indian model and film actress who appears mainly in Telugu and Hindi films. A former beauty pageant contestant, she was crowned as the second runner-up at the Miss Universe India 2010 competition, before going on to make her acting debut in Mysskin's Tamil superhero film Mugamoodi (2012). She then featured in the Telugu films Oka Laila Kosam and Mukunda (2014), while signing on to feature as the lead actress in Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro (2016) along with Hrithik Roshan.
Hegde at Lakme Fashion Week in 2018
|Residence||Mumbai, Maharastra, India|
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
Pooja was born and brought up in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Her parents Manjunath Hegde and Latha Hegde are from Mangalore, Karnataka. Her mother tongue is Tulu, and she is also fluent in English, Marathi, Hindi. She went to M.M.K College, she revealed. She regularly sought to enter in intercollegiate competitions, participating in dance and fashion shows.
She 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 memorizing 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. 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." 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.
Her 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). 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. She is also currently filming for Mukunda opposite debutant Varun Tej, nephew of actor Chiranjeevi. The romantic-action tale, set in the backdrop of a village, will release in late 2014. In her second Telugu film, Hegde impressed many with her memorable performance in Gopikamma song from Mukunda.
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. 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.
In 2018, she appeared in an item number in the film Rangasthalam in the song "Jigelu Rani". Then in Saakshyam, a Telugu film opposite Bellamkonda Sreenivas and Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava, a Telugu action film directed by Trivikram Srinivas opposite Jr. NTR.
In 2019, she appeared in Maharshi, a Telugu action film, directed by Vamsi Paidipally opposite Mahesh Babu. It received mixed reviews on release. Her next release was Gaddalakonda Ganesh, a Telugu action-thriller film directed by Harish Shankar. Remake of the 2014 Tamil film Jigarthanda, featured Varun Tej and Atharvaa along with her. 
As of September 2019 she has four upcoming films; a Sajid Nadiadwala's reincarnation comedy film Housefull 4 directed by Farhad Samji, featuring her as Rajkumari Mala and Pooja (reincarnated); another Telugu action film Ala Vaikuntapuramlo, directed by Trivikram Srinivas and produced by Allu Aravind, featuring Allu Arjun, Nivetha Pethuraj and Tabu besides her; a romantic multilingual film with Prabhas tentatively titled as Jaan;  and Akhil Akkineni's untitled film directed by Bommarillu Bhaskar, produced by Bunny Vas and Vasu Varma.
|Denotes films / dramas that are not yet released|
|2014||Oka Laila Kosam||Nandana||Telugu|
|2018||Rangasthalam||Item number||Telugu||Special appearance in the song "Jigelu Rani"|
|Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava||Aravindha||Telugu|
|Housefull 4||Rajkumari Mala/Pooja||Hindi||Post production|
- Mohenjo Daro star Pooja Hegde gives us a sneak peek into her wardrobe | fashion and trends. Hindustan Times (9 October 2016). Retrieved on 2016-11-04.
- 'Working with Bal Asha was amazing' – Pooja Hegde. coolage.in. 19 September 2012
- Manigandan, K. R. (19 August 2012). "Picture of confidence". The Hindu.
- "Review: Mugamoodi fails to impress". Rediff. 31 August 2012.
- Rangarajan, Malathi (1 September 2012). "Mugamoodi: Unmasked!". The Hindu.
- South Indian International Movie Awards. IMDb
- "Nominations for the 62nd Britannia Filmfare Awards (South)". Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Kumar, Hemanth (6 August 2014) Varun Tej's debut film gets into dubbing phase. Times of India
- Mukunda's audio to be launched in September. Times of India. 21 August 2014
- "Pooja Hegde signed opposite Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo-Daro". Bollywood Hungama News Network. 12 July 2014.
- "Bengaluru is home for me: Pooja Hegde". Deccan Chronicle.
- Kamal, S. S. (21 August 2014) "Pooja Hegde focuses on Hrithik Roshan's Mohenjo-daro". The Times of India.
- Chowdhary, Y. Sunita (23 September 2014). "It’s her turn". The Hindu.
- "Mohenjo Daro - Movie - Box Office India". boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- "7 reasons why Hrithik Roshan's Mohenjo Daro turned out to be a DISAPPOINTMENT at the box office". Bollywood Life. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- "Pooja Hegde finalised for Allu Arjun's next - Times of India". The Times of India.
- "Bellamkonda Sreenivas' having hard time with hits". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- "Aravindha Sametha box office: Jr NTR's actioner collects Rs 60 crore on opening day - The Indian Express". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
- ChennaiMay 10, India Today Web Desk; May 10, 2019UPDATED:; Ist, 2019 10:02. "Maharshi box office collection Day 1: Mahesh Babu film is off to a great start". India Today.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Varun Tej's new film Valmiki launched". Indian Express. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- "'Housefull 4': All you need to know about the film". m.timesofindia.com. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- "AA 19: Allu Arjun film with director Trivikram Srinivas goes on floors".
- "AA 19 First Glimpse: అల్లు అర్జున్ 'అల వైకుంఠపురములో'.. ఫస్ట్ పంచ్ పేలిందే!". Telugu Samayam. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- "Buzz: Pooja Hegde allocates Prabhas' Jaan dates to Akhil Akkineni's film - Times of India". The Times of India.
- "Pooja Hegde to romance Akhil Akkineni, DETAILS INSIDE". PINKVILLA.
- Listceleb Official (10 October 2019). "Pooja Hegde Height". Listceleb. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- "Pooja Hegde finalised for Allu Arjun's next". Times of India (15 September 2016)
- "Prabhas starts concentrating on his next with Radha Krishna Kumar". The News Minute. 12 September 2019.