Pooja Gauthami Umashankar, mononymously known as Pooja, is an Indian-Sri Lankan film actress, who has appeared in Tamil films as well as Sinhalese, Malayalam and amateur films. Following a series of successful commercial ventures, Bala's Naan Kadavul saw Pooja's performance as a blind beggar praised by the critics, securing major awards, including the South Filmfare, Hiru golden Film awards ( Most popular actress ) and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. She simultaneously worked in Sinhalese cinema and was part of several successful films like Anjalika (2006), Asai Man Piyabanna (2007), Suwanda Denuna Jeewithe (2010) and Kusa Pabha (2012), thus establishing herself as one of the leading actresses of Sinhalese cinema.
Pooja's mother Sandhya is a Sinhalese and her father H. R. Umashankar is an Indian Kannadiga Hindu. Pooja's father Umashankar was at Valparai working with Hindustan Unilever Limited as a manager. After she did her pre-schooling in Sri Lanka, she came to India and went to Poornapragnya in Aldur, Chikmagalur and then to Nirmala Convent in Mysuru. Later she continued her education at Baldwin's Girls High school in Bengaluru and did graduation (B. Com) and Post Graduation (MBA) at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore.