She is a hit with film buffs in Sri Lanka as well as Tamil Nadu. Meet Pooja
Her debut film in Sinhala, Anjalika, was such a big hit that it led tothe Sri Lankan Government imposing a tax on foreign actors. And her second film, Asai Mang Piyabanna, has broken all box office records in the island nation. But Kollywood need not fear. Pooja is in no mood to quit the Tamil film industry.
Her movie, Oram Po, directed by the husband-wife team of Pushkar and Gayathri, is releasing this week and Pooja is thrilled about her role. “I said okay to the role just after listening to the one line they told me. They were fresh, and enthusiastic about their work. Everything about them, their attitude, behaviour… all seemed fun.”
She has a deglamorised look in the movie as she plays a girl who owns a biriyani shop. “I liked the biriyani girl idea … you know the fact that I have a roadside shop and that I could behave like a rowdy.”
But she is more kicked about director Bala’s Naan Kadavul, in which “I am playing the dream role of my life.” She is scared and nervous about how she will live up to expectations, but she is also determined to “put in my 200 per cent to achieve what Bala Sir wants.” Though she does not reveal anything about her role, she says it is great “as Bala Sir gives importance to every character.”
For Pooja, who first faced the arc lights for director Jeeva’s Ullam Ketkumae though Saran’s Jay Jay was released first, Naan Kadavul would be her fourth film with actor Arya after Ullam Ketkumae, Pattiyal and Oram Po. She laughs when asked about this. “It is just coincidence; there is no specific reason. I would say the directors chose me rather than me choosing to work in their movies. You know Arya has actually told me: ‘If I see you again, I am going to kill you.’”
But why did she turn down the role offered by director Vishnuvardhan in Billa? “I am extremely hydrophobic, and the role in Billa, Vishnu mentioned, involved a lot of shooting in water. I had a horrific time while doing some such scenes in Jay Jay and Jithan. That is why I had to let it go, but I was literally in tears when I did so because I loved working with Vishnu in Pattiyal.”
Though she gets many offers in Tamil, she is not taking up any as she is busy shooting for Naan Kadavul in Periyakulam. “I am not even listening to scripts because many directors want immediate dates, which I cannot give.”
There is also an increase in the number of offers from Sri Lanka. “I am already committed to working on two more Sinhala movies and two advertisements.” Meanwhile, the post-production work on her third film Yaluvo, in which she plays a Tamil girl, is on and it is to be released mid-December.
And there is even talk that fans are building a temple for her in Sri Lanka, similar to the one built for actor Khushboo here in Tamil Nadu. Quiz her and she breaks into laughter once again. “I am not aware of any such temple. I am happy that people there love me a lot.” But on a serious note, she says, “I think it is just because Anjalika became such a rage and I became popular.”