‘The South has given me so much of love’

Deccan Chronicle.  | S Ramachandran

Entertainment, Kollywood

The actress has been working in three different languages, shooting four films at a time.

Pooja Hegde. (By Arrangement)

Pooja Hegde will soon be seen in the Tamil film Beast opposite Thalapathy Vijay.

“I am glad people are liking the trailer. It has been a mad ride. Knowing the director Nelson Dilip Kumar Sir and his last film Doctor, you are going to be amused! Doctor meets Thalapathy Vijay!” she says.

Pooja is full of admiration for Vijay's work ethic. “It was amazing working with him. He is so kind and one of the most hardworking actors I have shot with,” she says. “He comes early to the set and remains there till pack-up; he doesn’t go into his vanity van.”

Pooja says Vijay is so secure that he lets other people shine on the set. “He knows no one is going to take away anything from him.”

The actress hopes to do more films in Tamil so she can speak Tamil as well as Telugu. “I dub my lines in Telugu. I did that for Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo and for Most Eligible Bachelor and people have accepted me doing that. I played a stand-up comedian in MEB and it was a tough role with my own dubbing. Doing stand-up comedy for an hour is different because you can plan your punches. But here I was shooting it,” she explains.

Pooja, who is very popular down south, has been delving into Hindi cinema on and off. After the failure of Mohen Jo Daro, she took a break before returning with Housefull 4. “It is a conscious move. Mohen Jo Daro was a great debut on paper. Hrithik Roshan and Ashutosh Gowariker were coming back after Jodha Akbar and with UTV backing it, there was no way it could not have done well, But it failed. The media was kind to me though, saying that they wanted to see more of me,” says Pooja.

“When you don’t come from a filmi family and your first film fails, it sets you back a little. I had to move on. I went ahead and accepted the good offers I had from the South. I did Housefull 4 because it was half opposite Akshay Kumar and under the Nadiadwala banner. Doing that film got me a solo lead opposite Salman in Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali which I will be filming for soon,” the actress reveals.

She was last seen in Radhe Shyam opposite Prabhas. The film which did well in Telugu did not make an impact in Hindi.

“The South has accepted and loved me and gave me strength to say No to Hindi projects that weren’t that impactful. But now the lines are getting blurred. South cinema is giving Rs 100 crores and Rs 200 crores and Rs 1000 crores too. Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo and Butta Bomma got me so much love,” says Pooja.

She loved working in Beast because she and her dad love fun films. “I like the idea of love; I like laughter and I love rom coms. My dad loves to laugh a lot as well. He loved Housefull 4 and he liked the idea of those three pigeons in the film being named Neil, Nitin and Mukesh,” says the actress, adding, “I saw Nayakan with my dad and he behaved like Kamal Haasan Sir in the film for ten days. It was a phenomenal film and he was obsessed with the character.”

“My dad is a huge fan of the Rohit Shetty genre of comedy and he was so excited that I was working in Rohit's Cirkus. I have a few good scenes in the movie and some meaty ones, like the ones I have with Salman in Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali,” adds Pooja.

The actress is also awaiting the release of her next film Acharya in Telugu with Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan. “I play a village girl. I have a variety of roles in three different languages. There have been times when I have worked in four films in three different languages at the same time and though it has been exhausting, I am happy,” she smiles contentedly.