Telugu - Actor
Birth Date: 8, April 1994
Birth Place: San Jose, California, United States
Akhil Akkineni is an Indian film actor who works in the Telugu film industry. The son of actors Nagarjuna and Amala, Akhil made his acting debut as a baby who leaves his home in the comedy film Sisindri (1994), aged one. After completing his education, Akhil made a return to the film industry as a cricketer in celebrity tournaments and then in a cameo appearance in Vikram Kumar’s Manam (2014) alongside several of his family members. He then appeared in his first film in a leading role with Akhil (2015), an action fantasy film.
Early life and background
Born into a film family on 8 April 1994 in San Jose, California, Akhil is the younger son of Akkineni Nagarjuna and Amala. His elder half-brother Naga Chaitanya is also an actor. He is the grandson of actor and film producer Akkineni Nageswara Rao. He is of Telugu descent on his father’s side, and on his mother’s side he is of Bengali and Irish descent.
Akhil started his education at Chaitanya Vidyalaya, before heading to study in Australia for two years and returned to complete his studies at Oakridge International School, Hyderabad. Akhil revealed that he chose to pursue acting as a career aged 16, and thus turned down his father’s request for him to study business management and instead enrolled in an acting course at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York.
Akhil made his first film appearance by portraying the title role in Shiva Nageswara Rao’s Sisindri (1995), a Telugu adaptation of the English comedy film Baby’s Day Out (1994). Aged one, he completed his work as a baby escaping from home, and the film went on to win positive reviews and perform well at the box office. Akhil did not appear in any other films as a child artiste, and continued his education, staying away from the film industry. Akhil re-emerged in 2010 as a cricketer for his father’s, Nag Kings team in the 2010 edition of the celebrity Tollywood Trophy, which was organised to develop funds for the Movie Artistes’ Association. His match-winning half-century in the final against the Venky Warriors team, saw him secure the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series awards. His performance in the matches saw him called up to play for the Telugu Warriors in the inaugural Celebrity Cricket League during 2011, and he has since regularly participated in the tournament and won the 2015 edition as captain of his team.
As a result of his success in the cricket tournaments, his return as an actor had drawn media curiosity, but Akhil constantly denied reports that he had signed any projects during late 2013. In 2014, Akhil made a cameo appearance during the climax of Vikram Kumar’s family drama film Manam (2014), which featured three generations of actors from the Akkineni family. The makers initially hoped to keep Akhil’s appearance a secret, but the news was leaked out prior to the film’s release. Director Vikram Kumar had proposed the idea of introducing Akhil as an actor through the film and had approached Akhil’s father, Nagarjuna, with the idea, who subsequently agreed. Akhil shot for the film for a few days alongside his grandfather, father and half-brother, and described the experience as “nervous and exciting”, and added that Vikram Kumar helped calm him down during the shoot. Manam went on to become one of the most profitable Telugu films of 2014, while critics dubbed the film as “classic” en route to it winning several awards including Best Film at the Filmfare Awards. Akhil subsequently went on to make appearances in commercials, notably featuring in adverts for Karbonn Phone, Mountain Dew and Titan watches with Kalki Koechlin.
When the question of his first film as a leading actor came up, Akhil listened to scripts from several directors and was most impressed by V. V. Vinayak’s narration of an action film, which was later titled Akhil (2015) after himself. In order to prepare for the role, Akhil enrolled in a stunt workshop with his personal trainer Kicha and attended workshops in Thailand for two months. Produced by actor Nithin and Sudhakar Reddy, the film began production in December 2014 and featured him alongside fellow debutant actress Sayesha Saigal, who was also from a film family.