|Born||Pooja Ashwin Shah
8 August 1979
Camden, London, England
Pooja Ashwin Shah (born 8 August 1979 in London, England) is a British actress and model of Kenyan-Asian descent. Her grandparents migrated to Kenya from Gujarat in Western India and so her ancestral roots are there.
She began her acting career in the theatre and went on to play the lead role of Mary Magdalene in a small budget film named Jesus the Curry King. The film was produced by the Aylesbury Film Company and was one of the first digital films to be shown in cinemas in the UK.
In 2002 Shah played Meena in the film Bend It Like Beckham and later that year she played one of the lead roles, Sinjata, in the Sky One series Is Harry On The Boat? based on the best selling book and film. The story is about holiday reps in Ibiza and was filmed in Almunecar in Andalusia, Spain.
In 2003 Shah was cast in her most notable role to date. She played Kareena Ferreira in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. The Ferreira family were not well received by critics or viewers and were dismissed as unrealistic by the Asian community in the UK. In 2004 the new executive producer, Kathleen Hutchison, made the decision to axe the entire family in a bid to improve the show, which had suffered from a vast ratings decline. Shah subsequently left the show in 2005.
After leaving EastEnders Shah has appeared in a short film entitled CryBaby, was a celebrity sponsor on the show Strictly Dance Fever and in September 2005 she acted in a feature film called Weekend Lovers.
In 2005 she played the lead role, Sona Virdi, in the play Deranged Marriage, which toured the UK.
In 2006, she took on a lead role in the Britflick Cash and Curry.
In 2007 she played the role of Reshna Dewan in the ITV police drama The Bill. She appeared in the film Cash and Curry, which was released in 2008. The film also stars Ameet Chana, the actor who played her on-screen brother Adi Ferreira in EastEnders.
In 2010, Shah filmed eight episodes of Coronation Street, playing DC Moore, a police officer investigating an attack on Tracy Barlow. The first episode aired on 3 January 2011. Shah won an award for best actress at the Rob Knox Film Festival for the lead part in the short film No Honour No Choice.
- "England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcription for Pooja Ashwin Shah, Camden, registered 1979, vol. 14, p. 1908". Retrieved 13 October 2015 – via Find My Past. (subscription required (. ))
- Pooja Shah Modelling
- Pooja Shah Biography
- "Pooja Shah". Celebrity Agents. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- 'Unrealistic' Ferreira family dismissed by Asian viewers
- EastEnder accuses BBC of discrimination
- "Farewell to EastEnders' Ferreiras". BBC News. London: BBC. 2004-10-13. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- Pooja Cops It
- "Missing and Missing Live press pack: introduction". Press release. BBC. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- "Missing series two press pack: Pooja Shah". Press release. BBC. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- "Pooja Shah fan page". 2014-11-12. Retrieved 2015-01-01.