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Heera Rajagopal

Heera Rajagopal is a former Indian actress who has appeared in a number of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi language films.

As a military brat, Heera shifted to schools across different states in India every few years.[2] She later pursued a degree in psychology at Women’s Christian College, Chennai.[3] During her time in college, Heera was approached to model for print magazines and she took on the opportunities for financial independence. She also briefly worked as an encycopaedia-seller, a hotel worker and a model coordinator in her days as a student. Heera was initially not keen for a career in films and turned down initial approaches for roles by film directors. She first received a film offer on a family holiday at Gulmarg in Kashmir, where a producer had approached her to play the body double for Tina Munim. She also later rejected an offer from filmmaker Subhash Ghai, who had attended one of her modelling assignments.[4]

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In 1991, soon after finishing college, Heera accepted to play the lead female role in Kathir’s Tamil romantic drama film Idhayam.[4][5] Despite her initial apprehensions, she was convinced by film producer T. G. Thyagarajan to become an actress, and she obliged, crediting the professional approach and continued determination of the film’s team to sign her on.[6] She portrayed a medical student, who does not notice her classmate’s love for her, throughout the entire film. The film performed well at the box office, and has since been discussed as a “cult film” in Tamil cinema.[7] Heera’s second film Nee Pathi Naan Pathi (1991), was directed by Vasanth and produced by Kavithalayaa Productions.[8] She then starred in four films opposite actor Sarathkumar in quick succession, before playing a single mother in Sabash Babu (1993), written by T. Rajender.[9]

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Heera was cast by Mani Ratnam in his caper film Thiruda Thiruda (1993), and portrayed a rural belle who becomes a thief on the run, alongside actors Prashanth and Anand. A critic from The New Indian Express wrote there was “a drastic change of image from her hitherto sophisticated roles” and that she enacts it “so successfully”.[10] She later debuted in Bollywood through Raj Sippy’s Amanaat (1994) co-starring Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Kumar. The film had a delayed release, after being impacted by Dutt’s criminal litigation process.[11]


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