- 22 December 1972
- Tunis, Tunisia
Poorna Jagannathan is an American actress and producer. She is currently a series regular on the HBO series The Night Of (2016). Jagannathan rose to prominence in India after starring in the Bollywood film Delhi Belly (2011) opposite Imran Khan. She will also be seen in the third season of the Netflix series, House of Cards (2013). Apart from her work in films and television, Jagannathan is also an established theater actress and is part of The Barrow Group in New York City. Moved by a sensational, heinous gang-rape and murder in Delhi on December 16, 2012, Jagannathan initiated and co-produced a testimonial play called Nirbhaya ('Fearless', a pseudonym given to the victim). Written and directed by internationally acclaimed playwright and director, Yael Farber, Nirbhaya explores the themes of sexual violence. Nirbhaya opened at the Assembly Hall in August 2013 during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won the coveted 2013 Amnesty International Award as well as the Scotsman Fringe First and Herald Angel awards. It's been called by The Telegraph as "One of the most powerful pieces of theater you will ever see." The daughter of a diplomat, Jagannathan was born in Tunis, Tunisia but grew up in Pakistan, Ireland, Brazil and Argentina. She began her college education at the University of Brasilia, Brazil but graduated in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park. On scholarship, she started her Masters from The Actor's Studio, one of the world's top drama schools, but left after the first year. In 2013, Jagannathan portrayed Riyana Sarai in the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013). The movie has become the third highest grossing Bollywood film of all time in India and worldwide.The film was written and directed by Ayan Mukerji and produced by Dharma Films. Jagannathan won critical acclaim for her role as a spunky, irreverent journalist in the film Delhi Belly. For her performance in Delhi Belly (2011), Jagannathan won the Stardust award for Best Supporting Actress and the L'Oreal Femina Award for Breakthrough Performance in 2012. She is also known as a fashion and beauty icon - featured among the top 10 in Femina magazine's "India's 50 most beautiful women" in 2012. She has been on the covers of Marie Claire, Femina, Jade and Exotica and covered in numerous leading fashion publications like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Grazia. In 2014, Verve Magazine named her among the "Top 50 most powerful women in India". Jagannathan was featured in Vogue's October 2012 anniversary issue as one of 8 women who are changing the face of beauty in India. Vogue also included her in their list of 50 best red carpet looks for 2012 and in their list of "Best dressed: Who to watch in 2014". Grazia awarded Jagannathan the "Best Dressed Award" for 2014. She was ranked 'Most Fashionable Indian Woman' by Cosmopolitan in their October 2013 and 2012 issues. Italian Marie Claire named Jagannathan as one of the 12 women from the East impacting Western cinema in 2012. She is also a brand ambassador for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in India.