'I learned to stay simple from Salman.'
Pooja Hegde, who plays Salman Khan's love interest in his Eid release Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, says that she doesn't feel typecast as a "pretty face" in masala entertainers and would rather see it as a compliment.
The actress, whose last Bollywood outing Cirkus failed to leave a mark at the box office, was addressing the media at the KKBKKJ promotions.
"I have done characters where the girl has a good role. Even pretty girls have stories to tell. As long as we continue to tell stories and connect with people, it's great," she says.
Pooja says she is an entertainer and just wants to entertain people.
She cites an example of her 2021 Telugu film Most Eligible Bachelor in which she was paired opposite Akhil Akkineni. It received a positive reception from critics and was a box office success.
"That film got me a lot of love and appreciation," says Pooja.
After making her acting debut in the Tamil film Mugamoodi in 2012, Pooja became an audience favourite down south.
The Mumbai-born actor is currently dabbling in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films.
Asked if she finds any differences between Bollywood and the southern film industry, she says, "It is just a change of language. People are same otherwise."
In KKBKKJ, Pooja plays a Delhi-based Telugu girl named Bhagyalakshmi, who falls in love with Khan.
Bhagyalakshmi, Pooja says, is "fun-loving, bindaas, loud, and full of masti."
Pooja has done several Telugu films and since her character in KKBKKJ is a Telugu girl, she thinks it was "just a perfect match".
Salman, she says, had seen her Bollywood debut Mohenjo Daro (2016) and once told her that they would 'definitely' work together.
"I signed this film when the title was something else. (Producer) Sajid Nadiadwala was connected to this film with whom I did Housefull 4, so it all synced really well," she says.
Asked about her work experience with Salman, Pooja says with a smile: "I learned to stay simple from him. Sometimes, it is fine to just say what's on your mind, just like what he is known for."
Pooja says they had good energy on sets, especially with fine acting talents from different languages coming together.
Calling Salman 'Bhai' and herself 'Jaan' of the film, she hopes audiences will like her too, besides Salman.
"This film has got everything: Action, entertainment, comedy, and beautiful locations," endorses Pooja. "It is a proper masala entertainer and there's something for everyone in it."