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About Pooja

Pooja Gauthami Umashankar (born 25 June 1981), mononymously known as Pooja is an Indian actress, who has primarily appeared in Tamil films as well as Sinhala, Malayalam and Amateur films. Following a series of successful commercial ventures, Bala's Naan Kadavul saw Pooja's performance as a blind beggar praised by the critics, securing major awards, including the South Filmfare and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. She simultaneously appeared in several commercial successes in Sinhala Cinema like Anjalika(2005) ,Suwanda Denuna Jeewithe(2007) and Kusa Pabha(2012), thus establishing herself as one of the leading actresses of Sinhala cinema.

Pooja's mother Sandhya is a Sri Lankan Sinhalese and her father Uma Shankar is an Indian Kannadiga Brahmin from Sringeri in Karnataka. Uma Shankar was at Valparai working with Hindustan Unilever Limited as a manager. He was not at all interested in film industry but she was attached to it. Pooja can speak Kannada, Sinhalese, Tamil and English. She went to Baldwin's school and studied at the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore. Vanathy has been her mentor throughout her acting career.

Pooja was introduced by a friend of her to cinematographer-turned-director Jeeva, who signed her for the role of Anglo-Indian girl in his Tamil venture Ullam Ketkumae. Pooja said that at that time she planned to finish that film and return to her original job and did not take an acting career into consideration. She stated: "I said to myself I'd act in just this film, see what it's like, make good use of the money and get back to studying". She was soon offered a role opposite R. Madhavan, which she could not decline and made her rethink her decision. Ullam Ketkumae's massive delay meant that her second film, the romantic comedy Jay Jay (2004), directed by Saran, became her first official release.

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