Pooja Hegde’s profession has had its ups and downs. She burst onto the scene with three massive movies – the Tamil superhero journey Mugamoodi with co-star Jiiva, the Telugu romcom Oka Laila Kosam with Naga Chaitanya and Mohenjo Daro with Hrithik Roshan. For many actresses that will be a dream begin to their careers and it was no completely different for Pooja. She then had main industrial hits like Jr NTR’s Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava, Mahesh Babu’s Maharishi and Akshay Kumar’s Housefull 4. However of late, she’s additionally seen misses like Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam and Salman Khan’s Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan. However Pooja isn’t affected by the highs or the lows. She retains her ardour for cinema on the forefront and appears ahead to new challenges in entrance of the digital camera. On this week’s Massive Interview she talks about success, failure and setbacks with candour. Learn on…
You’ve accomplished a decade in movies this 12 months. How do you look again at your profession, movies and roles?
It would not really feel prefer it’s been 10 years. From the second I did my first movie, I saved working yearly. I even did a Tamil movie with out realizing if I wished to do it. Not that I used to be uncertain about working in Tamil movies, however my mother inspired me to present it a strive, saying I would not know if I favored it except I attempted. Throughout that movie, I noticed I loved the method and determined to give attention to deciding on movies primarily based on their tales. I needed to determine it out alone with out a lot steerage.
After that movie, I went by a 12 months with none work. I patiently waited for the suitable alternative to come back my means, attending auditions however typically not getting the roles. Regardless of the setbacks, I remained enthusiastic and by no means thought that it would not occur for me. I at all times puzzled when the work that I desired would come my means.

One among your earliest breakthroughs was the advert movie you shot with Ranbir Kapoor. How did you get that chance?
It occurred by an audition. They have been solely testing six ladies, so I went in and did one take. The casting woman thanked me and stated that they had what they wanted. I supplied to do one other take with a special method, though I did not suppose I’d get the advert since they did not appear . Surprisingly, I acquired a name saying I used to be chosen, and the advert featured Ranbir Kapoor. That advert opened doorways for me within the movie business. All of it took off from there.
I then signed on for Mohenjo Daro (2016), which certain me contractually for 2 years. The work I have been doing for the previous 3-4 years is when my precise journey started.
Do you suppose contractual obligations are nonetheless prevalent in at present’s instances?
I imagine issues have modified now, and such contractual restrictions aren’t as widespread. Personally, I missed out on many movie alternatives attributable to these obligations. Nevertheless it’s all a part of the job and I’ve come to just accept it.
How did you preserve a optimistic angle throughout the time while you weren’t getting work?
Deep down, I at all times knew I’d make it. I by no means thought-about having a Plan B. I genuinely imagine {that a} cussed coronary heart can win over the universe. After all, there have been nerve-racking instances, however I persevered. My mom has at all times been a supply of inspiration in that regard.
Success and failure are a part of an actor’s journey. How do you deal with them?
I deal with success and failure equally. As Michael Jordan stated, “You’re only successful until you have done the act. Then you have to prove it again.” I’m thrilled when a movie does effectively and receives appreciation, however I shortly transfer on. I preserve the identical angle in direction of failure. My focus is on doing good work and never changing into too hooked up to a movie’s end result. Field workplace failure would not essentially decide the standard of a movie.

So, how do you spend your Fridays, particularly when a movie releases?
I watch the movie with my household and after that week, I depart it behind. I do hold observe of what audiences are saying about it, however on the day of the discharge, I could be concerned in one other shoot as effectively.
Because you started your profession, how a lot has the panorama modified for actresses?
Issues have actually modified. Nevertheless, I take into account myself a lover of cinema. If an awesome movie comes my means, I’d wish to be part of it, whatever the business or the scale of the function. As an illustration, if SS Rajamouli calls me, I’d eagerly settle for the chance. There are specific administrators who’re on each actor’s wishlist. After ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’ (2021, Telugu movie starring Akhil Akkineni), I began receiving presents for female-centric roles.
You might have labored in Telugu, Hindi and Tamil movies. Wherein language do you’re feeling extra comfy?
It is a bit complicated, to be sincere. As I’ve accomplished extra Telugu movies than Hindi, Telugu now seems like residence to me. Nevertheless, since I grew up watching Hindi movies, I additionally really feel at residence in Bollywood.
You might have had the prospect to work with among the largest stars within the nation. Initially, it should have been overwhelming. How did you adapt to it?
Fortuitously, I skilled that in my very first movie. Whether or not it was Jiiva or Hrithik Roshan, they have been extremely understanding and supportive. Not too long ago, I did an advert with Amitabh Bachchan. It may be formidable to work with such massive stars, however they’re extremely skilled. I at all times remind myself to remain calm, be myself and provides my finest within the scene.
Generally, I interact in self-talk, reassuring myself that it is okay to calm down and do my finest. Working in a language that’s not my very own includes studying strains, making errors and redoing them. Over time, I’ve change into extra comfy with it and discover it much less intimidating. If I really feel nervous, I attempt to use it to my benefit.
How validating is it to persistently work in massive movies? You latterly labored with Salman Khan in Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan. Do you now really feel such as you belong on the earth of huge funds industrial movies?
I do not dwell on it an excessive amount of. I hold transferring ahead as a result of I imagine there’s nonetheless a lot to perform. There are quite a few genres and roles I have never explored but, and I wish to showcase my vary as an actor. I can do much more.
Once I replicate on my journey, I notice how far I’ve come. Coming from a non-filmy background, I’ve labored arduous, and that in itself is a good validation. In the event you preserve a powerful work ethic and provides your all to every little thing you do, it should finally come again to you in a method or one other.
Now that you’ve achieved a very good place in your profession, what sort of roles do you aspire to take up, significantly in Hindi cinema?
I do not wish to restrict myself to simply Hindi cinema as a result of lots of my followers have watched my work in Telugu as effectively. For instance, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2020). I wish to be seen as an Indian actor and never be confined to a single business.
I’ve a want to discover completely different genres. I would like to do a black comedy or an motion movie. It might be great to work on tasks for kids since a good portion of my fan base consists of youngsters. ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’ was significantly fashionable amongst youngsters.

Do you wish to problem your self with dangerous roles and movies? Or is it finest to stay to your strengths?
Previously, I constructed my profession one movie at a time. I did not have a lineup of scripts to select from. Now, I imagine it is the suitable time to take calculated dangers. I wish to experiment and hope that the media additionally helps me after I take these dangers.
As actors, we must be allowed to discover and even fail. That is how we will deliver one thing new to the desk. After all, I perceive why my followers watch my movies, and I’ll proceed to present them what they take pleasure in.

When did you first notice that you simply had change into fashionable?
Even now, I do not totally grasp the extent of my recognition (laughs). I used to be a shy, introverted and reserved youngster. Generally, it seems like I am a special particular person altogether.
Maybe the Hindi viewers found my work throughout the pandemic, and now they acknowledge me and method me for pictures at airports. They could battle with announcing the titles of my Tamil and Telugu movies, but it surely’s heartwarming to know that they loved them.
Share one ‘happy’ reminiscence out of your profession to this point.
One particular second was when Madhuri Dixit ma’am knew my identify. I went to say ‘Hello’ to her, and she or he greeted me by saying, “Hi Pooja, how are you?” I used to be amazed that Madhuri Dixit knew my identify! It was a very memorable second.