Pooja Bhatt, the daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and Kiran Bhatt, was born on February 24, 1972. Belonging to a film background, film industry always intrigued Pooja. She began her acting career at the age of 17 with the TV film Daddy. (All photos/mid-day archives and Instagram)
Pictured: Pooja Bhatt shared this old picture of her first outdoor shoot by photographer Sumeet Chopra. Interestingly, he was assisted by Dabboo Ratnani
Daddy, which released in 1991, was directed by Pooja Bhatt's father Mahesh Bhatt. The film was lauded by audiences and critics alike. And she won the New Face of the Year Award for her first film itself.
After Daddy, Pooja Bhatt went on to star in films like Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Sadak, Sir and Zakhm, Prem Deewane and Jaanam to name a few.
Did you know Pooja Bhatt was offered 90s blockbuster Aashiqui? Her uncle Mukesh Bhatt offered her a role in the highly acclaimed film, but she declined because her boyfriend did not want her to be an actress. Can you believe it?
Pictured: A 17-year-old Pooja Bhatt dubbing for her debut film Daddy in 1989 Aradhana sound service
In an old interview with mid-day, she had told, "I had a boyfriend and I was in love with him since I was 12-year-old. When I was 16, I started dating him. At 17 I did Daddy and at 18 I was offered Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin."
Pictured: Pooja Bhatt during a photo shoot with Gautam Rajadhyaksha and Mickey Contractor in the 1990s
Pooja Bhatt further added, "So he very patiently went through the phase of my first film and said 'If you want to marry me, drop movie offers as I'll never marry an actor'. Being a romantic person, I said I'll do anything for love. Then Mukeshji (Mukesh Bhatt) came to my house with signing amount for the role, but I refused the offer. He called my father and asked him to make me understand. But I never agreed to do it."
In picture: Doesn't 9-month-old Pooja Bhatt look adorable in this picture? We think so
Pooja Bhatt posted this still of herself from the sets of Tamanna, a critically acclaimed 1997 film that she starred in and produced, which had Paresh Rawal essaying a eunuch
Despite starting her acting career at a young age, Pooja Bhatt couldn't garner applauds for her roles. She said she turned to production and direction at the age of 21 as she was never happy being just an actor.
In picture: Pooja Bhatt shared this picture on frequent co-star Rahul Roy's birthday. She captioned it, "Happy Birthday Roy boy! With all that shared history,hits and flops,how can I still love you not? (sic)." Pooja and Rahul starred in offbeat films like Junoon and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayi which were quite ahead of time. Pics courtesy/ Pooja Bhatt's Instagram
Pooja Bhatt has made a name for herself not only as a fine actress but also as a successful filmmaker. "At the age of 21, I was India's youngest film producer and that's a very major achievement for someone who is a mainstream actor," she said.
Pictured: A collage of the many photoshoots that Pooja Bhatt participated in when she was a leading actress in the 1990s
Pooja Bhatt's half-sister Alia Bhatt is at a peak of her career. Drawing comparisons between her younger sibling, Pooja said, "I was Alia's age when I produced my first film and I don't think Alia would be able to produce a film today... She is a wonderful actor and a star but I am saying my aspirations were always slightly different."
Pictured: Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt from the film Sadak
Unlike Alia, Pooja Bhatt avoided doing romantic films as an actor. "I got a lot to do at a pretty young age in terms of emotionally challenging films. I did not do any fluff... fluff is not me. I became a filmmaker because for me just being in front of the camera was not enough. I enjoyed making movies, creating new stars, enjoyed putting my films together and that's what gives me the satisfaction far more than just merely being a star," she said.
Pictured: Pooja Bhatt with friend and fashion designer Ana Singh at a party in the 1990s
In fact, Pooja Bhatt is no stranger to 'bold' movies. In the last decade, she has produced movies like Jism (2003) and directed Paap (2003) and Jism 2 (2012), all known for their sexy female leads and for their intent of defining the Indian woman's "sexuality".
Pictured: Pooja Bhatt and Akshaye Khanna in a still from the 1997 film Border
Pooja Bhatt ventured into film production in 1998. She and uncle Mukesh Bhatt co-produced Dushman starring Kajol, Sanjay Dutt and Ashutosh Rana.
Pooja Bhatt made her directorial debut in 2003 with the film Paap starring John Abraham and Udita Goswami.
On the personal front, Pooja Bhatt has never shied upon talking about her personal life in public. From her past relationships to announcing separation from her former husband Manish Makhija, Pooja Bhatt's life is an open book!
Pictured: A candid image of Pooja Bhatt and Sanjay Dutt from the 1990s
"If I look back at my 26-year-old career, the media and public have been very kind to me. When you look at the world with innocence and try to live with that innocence, than there will be no harm to you," Pooja said at an event, a few years ago, when asked about how she deals with questions on her personal life.
Pooja Bhatt pointed out that women were not allowed to share their opinions in the industry. "When I entered the industry, my parents used to give me a lot of freedom. I've lived my life freely. When I started, I used to hear from people that you can't have a boyfriend at the age of 19, I used to say 'Why not?'... The industry does not let women with an opinion and brain, get very far off the ladder because they want to look at you and they don't want to hear you."
"But I always tried to stick to the truth. I have a conscience in myself. I have restless energy that has always prepared me to face people," added Pooja.
Pooja Bhatt had admitted that she battled with alcoholism. "I stopped drinking by first acknowledging that I had a drinking problem. Because you are a woman and you live in a society where they are always taught or forced to brush things under the carpet. We tend to bury this shameful habit that we have of covering it up and say, 'Oh, we don't have a problem, it is somebody else's and I am not that drunk'," Pooja said.
However, she Pooja Bhatt has quit drinking in 2016. She shared that sometimes she also had to and has to deal with the pressure of people asking: "Hey, you are not drinking? You must have a drink". It is not alcohol you are addicted to, it's the absence of absence. All of us somewhere are lonely. Some expect a man to find the answer while some find it easily in the bottle of alcohol. It seems very gratifying, it pulls you and before you know it, you are down the rabbit hole and it is difficult to come back," said Pooja.
Pooja Bhatt still grabs headlines for her bold and outspoken attitude.
However, fans love the way she is - bold and beautiful. Here's wishing a very happy birthday to you Pooja!
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's daughter Pooja Bhatt made her mark not only as a tremendous actress in the 1990s by doing unconventional roles that challenged stereotypes but also courted success after entering film direction, where she made films with daring and bold themes. We look at her journey in filmdom on the occasion of her 47th birthday
DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.