Full Biography of Actress Pooja Umashankar
Pooja Gauthami Umashankar born 25 June 1981, mononymously known as Pooja is an Indian Sri Lankan 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 establishing herself as a leading contemporary actress in Tamil Cinema.
She simultaneously appeared in several commercial successes in Sinhala Cinema like Anjalika , Asai Man Piyabanna, Suwanda Denuna Jeewithe and Kusa Pabha, thus establishing herself as one of the leading actresses of Sinhala cinema.
Pooja\'s mother Sandhya is a Sri Lankan Sinhalese and her father H.R.Umashankar is an Indian Kannadiga Brahmin from Sringeri in Chikmagalur district, 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 did her early schooling in Poornapragnya in Aldur,Chikmagalur and Nirmala Convent in Mysore. Later she continued her education at Baldwin\'s Girls High school in Bangalore and did graduation (B.Com) and Post Graduation (MBA) at the prestigious Mount Carmel College in Bangalore
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. 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. Pooja received favorable reviews for her performance in Jay Jay, G. Ulaganathan from Deccan Herald wrote:Spirited, lively, Pooja\'s sparkling eyes and smile do leave an impression. Similarly a critic from nowrunning.com noted: mong the two new heroines, it is Pooja who scores with her good performance and dances.
She next played the romantic interest of Ajith Kumar in another Saran film, Attahasam, which, in spite of mixed critical response, went on to become a financial success. Pooja, too, met with criticism, with critics citing that she had only limited role and was wasted in an insignificant and half-baked role. Pooja\'s subsequent release happened to be Ullam Ketkumae that featured her in one of the five leading roles alongside Shaam, Laila, Arya and Asin. The film fetched positive remarks and emerged as a sleeper hit.
She went to appear in several hits like Thambi and Pori which finally established her as a star heroine in Tamil cinema. In 2007, Pooja also appeared in her only Malayalam film till date, Panthaya Kozhi. She bagged the lead female role in Bala\'s Naan Kadavul. Her portrayal of Hamshavalli, a blind beggar, was critically appreciated and earned her several accolades, including the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil and Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Character Artiste.
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