Pooja Batra (born on 27 October 1973) in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, is an Indian actress.
Bhatra was born to Ravi Batra, an army colonel who was wounded in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan. Her mother, Neelam Batra was a former Miss India participant in 1971. She did her schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya where she enjoyed sports, debates and plays. She was a good athlete who competed in the 200 and 400 meter dash.
She majored in Economics at the Fergusson College, Pune. She also attained her MBA in marketing from Symbiosis College, Pune.She dated the actor Akshay Kumar for some time. She has two twin brothers.At a young age, she started modeling as a part-time job. She was best known for her Liril soap commercial. She was the first Indian face to launch and be a spokesperson for Head and Shoulders in India.
She shot to fame when she was crowned Miss India in 1993. She went on to become one of the top models in India. She walked the ramp for over 250 fashion shows in India and overseas. She is an ambassador for Parag Sarees.
She has played the lead role in over 20 movies. One of her movies, "Taj Mahal", a historical epic that was shown at the Cannes film festival in 2004. As a model she has participated in over 250 events and ad campaigns.
Pooja turned down many offers to complete her education before signing a contract with the Virasat Film Studio. She is the life member of International Film And Television Club of Asian Academy Of Film & Television, Noida.In 1995 she did a cameo in a Tamil film called Aasai.
The first film she signed was Virasat in 1997. She worked in over 21 films including Haseena Maan Jayegi, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya and Kahin Pyar Na Ho Jaye.
She is tall, stands 5'9", Batra worked in Malayalam films, majority of them being with Megastars Mohanlal and Mamootty. She also did two Tamil films. She also did theatre and toured North America which got her considerable acclaim.
She recently appeared at the 2009 Academy Awards in Los Angeles, where she reunited with co-star of Virasat, Anil Kapoor.
Batra is married to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia, and lives in Los Angeles, California. She has houses in Mumbai and Los Angeles.
Batra has volunteered time and money to charitable causes including AIDS (Mukti Foundation), homeless children, the Bombay Police Department and injured soldiers in the Kashmir war.
She did pro bono work in the film My Little Devil (Bas Yari Rakho) subtitled in Hindi, English and French to raise funds for the poor children in India. The film was co-produced by NFDC-La Fete (Canada) and directed by Gopi Desai. The film was screened at the 24th Annual Montreal World Film Festival, 2000; Chicago International Children's Film Festival, 2000; 10th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival of World Cinema, 2001 and the Indian Film Festival in Malaysia, 2005.
Awards and nominations
1997: Best Supporting Actress win for Virasat
1997: Most Promising Newcomer nomination for Virasat
2006: Best Actress nomination for Taj Mahal-An Eternal Love Story