A Healthy Mantra | Pooja Batra
For those who claim to be fed scantly with Bollywood films, Pooja Batra is that 5 ft 9 inch ex-Miss India who passed her crown to Aishwarya Rai in 1994. As far as her stint with Indian cinema, she is that ‘Hassena Maan Jayegi’ girl who also acted in the super hit ‘Virasat’ opposite Anil Kapoor.
Presently, the tall flamboyant, model-turned actress Pooja Batra makes Los Angeles cozy with her handsome doctor husband Sonu Ahluwalia. For some, marriage might be a slowing down, but for 20 something Pooja its all a beginning.
Batra also takes a sneak peak at other scripts, while theatre is one of her major preferences. Blessed with the combination of Indian and western beauty, Hollywood might not be too far away from her.
Born in Faizabad, UP, India, Pooja started her career with modeling, typically en vogue while in college. Batra breaks the myth that models cannot act. She said that if models could convey their emotions in a few seconds in an ad that convinced buyers, then three hours was sufficient.
Being an army officer’s daughter, Pooja has learnt the art to compete. After she failed to perform her best in a 400 meters race, Batra’s father gave her rigorous training for six months, after which she went on to represent her school in the national meet. “I’m a national level athlete. And my training helped me a lot, it taught me to focus and it disciplined me mentally and physically,” says Batra.
Her outgoing nature has enriched her with some long-lasting friendships and with the support of her good nature Pooja revels in her martial bliss. In LA her day starts with yoga and meditation, regular gym, and of course making Punjabi ‘khana’ (food) for her hubby. A totally hassle free Pooja cannot stop praising her mother-in-law and a very supportive husband who encourages her film career.
Pooja tied the knot to the 6 feet 5 inch orthopedic surgeon after dating for two and a half years. A common friend in London set the two up, while Pooja was on her world tour for Bollywood shows. A Harvard graduate, Sonu instantly fell in love with the flawless beauty and while they dated he bought several of her films, just to know the film business better.
Batra was recently spotted at an Indian convention as a celebrity guest busily signing autographs. “Life in the US is great,” she says “it is this anonymity that fascinates me, the liberty to go out and shop for vegetables is quite an experience.” “India shunted my growth as a person, the stigma of being a star hampered me from leading a normal life,” confessed Pooja.
From the most talked about model/actress to the beautiful wife next door in the US, Pooja lives it all. Unlike other stars, Batra is totally carefree, with no attitudes, but for a few things she watches closely, her health and weight.
Although blessed with a glowing skin and perfect figure, Pooja keeps track of her food preferences. Her diet includes regular intake of bean sprouts, greens, fruits, and curd. “Regular yoga, has been strictly instructed by my mother and so it’s a must,” says she. A regular half hour yoga is a must with three different breathing exercises. Pranayam and lotus asana helps the body stay healthy with a thin waistline reducing the risk of diabetes.
Pooja’s beauty seems to grow when candidly spot without make-up. When asked the secret behind that, “a loving husband and a yogic mind,” was her reply. A beautiful skin is definitely the result of a healthy lifestyle, therefore Mrs. and Mr. Ahluwalia eat homemade food. For the couple, household chores are 50:50. “While Sonu cooks I do the cleaning,” says Pooja “he is great with non-vegetarian cuisine while I excel in the veggie stuff.”
About skin care she insists that one should take good care of it, both outer and within. At least 8 to 10 glasses of water helps clear the body from its impurities. Cleansing, toning, and moisturizing are the three-step process to a glowing and healthy skin. “Make-up must always be removed before bedtime,” added Pooja.
Juggling between tough schedules, the couple manages to share some quality time watching Hindi movies, participating in outdoor activities, and above all they love to hang out with friends.
Although right now kids are ‘no-no’, the model turned actress is always keen to spend time with family and friends and especially Sonu.
Brought up in a cosmopolitan setting, adjusting to life in the United States was not a big deal for Pooja. “My family was always on the move, I must have been in 10 different schools in 12 years because of my father’s job,” she says. “This whole experience has taught me the art to adjust with people from all walks of life.”
Undoubtedly in love with her maiden-land, India, Pooja craves to see more professionalism in the Indian film industry. Residing in the land of opportunities, Batra feels that there is nothing like India and Indians. “There is something mystical in the people of India, the crowd, the soil,” says Pooja with a twinkle in her eye.