Poonam Dhillon was born on April 18, 1962, in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Her father Amreek Singh was an aeronautical engineer in the Indian Air Force and would often get transferred. Her mother was a school principal and both her siblings are doctors. Poonam was quite studious growing up and aspired to become a doctor. But fate had something else in store for her. (All Pics/Instagram, YouTube and mid-day archives)
In 1977, Poonam Dhillon participated in the Miss India beauty pageant, where she was crowned the winner. It was a turning point in her life and she gained attention after people started noticing her, following her victory at the event.
Legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra then approached Poonam Dhillon in his 1978 film Trishul. The popular song Gapoochi Gapoochi Gum Gum from the film was picturised on her and co-star Sachin Pilgaonkar. She was only 16 at the time.
Poonam Dhillon initially refused Yash Chopra's offer to work in Trishul, but the late great producer-director persisted and was eventually able to convince her to be a part of the film under the condition that her filming schedule occurs during her school holidays.
Trishul (1978), which also starred Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rakhee, Hema Malini and Sachin Pilgaonkar was a blockbuster and Poonam Dhillon went on to star in several successful Bollywood films over the years.
Following the success of Trishul, Poonam Dhillon was cast in Noorie (1979) opposite Farooque Shaikh, which was produced by Yash Chopra. She was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. The film went on to do well and was the seventh highest grossing film at the Indian Box Office in that year.
Poonam Dhillon and the late great Rajesh Khanna co-starred in seven films between 1980 and 1990. They were Red Rose (1980), Dard (1981), Nishaan (1983), Zamana (1985), Awam (1987) and Jai Shiv Shankar (1990).
Poonam Dhillon's other notable films include Yeh Vaada Raha (1982), Romance (1983), Soni Mahiwal (1984), Teri Meharbaniyan (1985), Karma (1986), Samundar (1986), Saveray Wali Gaadi (1986), Karma (1986), Naam (1986), Maalamaal (1988) and many other films. Her last Bollywood outing was the 2013 film Ramaiya Vastavaiya.
Besides Bollywood, Poonam Dhillon has worked in regional films as well, most notably Nyay Danda (Bengali), Yuddha Kaanda (Kannada), Ishtam (Telugu) and Yavarum Nalam (Tamil), which starred R Madhavan and Neetu Chandra. She also acted alongside Dharmendra in the 2014 Punjabi comedy Double Di Trouble.
Poonam Dhillon ventured into the small screen in 1995 with the TV series Andaz, in which she appeared for an episode. She later hosted the program Chusth Durusth in 2002 and played a lead in the soap opera Kittie Party the same year, after which she was profiled in 2005 on Showbiz India.
Poonam Dhillon became a contestant on the controversial reality show Bigg Boss, where she ended up as a runner-up in its third season. She later went on to star in the television series Ekk Nayi Pehchaan, in which she portrayed the character Sharda Suresh Modi.
The versatile Poonam Dhillon has also tried her hand at theatre acting. She did a play titled The Perfect Husband, which won the best comedy play award in 2005 and completed a Golden Jubilee run. She followed that up with The Perfect Wife, in which she co-starred with Sooraj Thapar and acted in Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi with Asif Sheikh after that. Her last stage outing was a play called U Turn.
Poonam Dhillon is credited with pioneering the concept of the make-up van in the Indian film industry, after she decided to venture into the business, by starting a company named VANITY. Pictured: Poonam with Anil Kapoor and Sridevi in her vanity van.
Poonam Dhillon is quite active with social causes like drug awareness, AIDS awareness, family planning and organ donation and did a show to 'Save and Empower the Girl Child' with Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital.
Poonam Dhillon has even ventured into film production after launching her own company titled, Poetic Justice Films Pvt Ltd. She has been a prominent speaker at the SAARC business summit at Kathmandu and Delhi and was appointed as a cultural ambassador and was also a speaker at the MINDMINE event. Pictured: Poonam with the late Yash Chopra.
Poonam Dhillon with Jeetendra and Rakesh Roshan at an event. Poonam and the 'Jumping Jack' have worked together in the films Nishana (1980), Nishaan (1983), Dosti Dushmani (1986), Himmat Aur Mehanat (1987), Jai Shiv Shankar (1990), Sone Pe Suhaaga (1988), Amiri Garibi (1990) and Mahaanta: The Film (1997).
Pictured: Poonam Dhillon with Padmini Kolhapure at an event. They both starred in the 1991 film Qurbani Rang Layegi.
Poonam Dhillon (C) with Shah Rukh Khan and Padmini Kolhapure at an awards event.
Poonam Dhillon with the legendary Shammi Kapoor (C). They shared the screen in the films Yeh Vaada Raha (1982), Romance (1983), Sohni Mahiwal (1984), Baadal (1985), Himmat Aur Mehanat (1987) and Batwara (1989).
Poonam Dhillon in a still from Red Rose (1980), in which she starred opposite Rajesh Khanna. The film was a remake of the 1978 Tamil film Sigappu Rojakkal, which had Kamal Haasan and Sridevi in lead roles.
Poonam Dhillon wed producer Ashok Thakeria in 1988 but they separated a few years later. They have two children, son Anmol and daughter Paloma. The latter is quite popular on social media.
Poonam Dhillon joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2004, but it was only in November 2018, that she took on an active role as its Mumbai Vice President. "I joined the party in 2004. However, because of various commitments or responsibilities, I was supportive, but I was not ready to take on a very active role. It wasn't the right time as both my children were small... Now they are grown up and independent. I feel very strongly that the country needs dedicated people who have passion... rather than those who are in politics only for a career. I want to do my bit for my city and my country. That's why I volunteered; now I can do anything that is required as I have the time," said the actress-turned-politician. She is focussed on her new role on the political front.
Here's wishing a very happy birthday to Poonam Dhillon!
Poonam Dhillon, who turns 57 today has seemingly done it all! She made her Bollywood debut at age 16, after winning the Miss India pageant to starring several blockbuster Bollywood films of the 1970s and 80s and even did TV shows, a stint on Bigg Boss and several plays. A look at the actress' life and candid pictures...