Sep 12, 1968 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Sep 12, 1968 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
One of the most prominent figures in the South Indian film industry, Amala Akkineni is an actress and a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. The winner of several prestigious awards including two Filmfare Awards South and a CineMAA Award, the actress has mostly worked in Tamil and Telugu films apart from Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam films. Besides her work in the film industry, the actress is known for her charitable works, especially in animal welfare.
Amala was born in Kolkata to a Bengali father who was a naval officer and an Irish mother. The actress completed her graduation with a Fine Arts degree in Bharatanatyam from Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, which was founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale. It was during one of her performances with the troupe that she was noticed by the Tamil film director-writer, T. Rajendar persuaded her to become an actress.
Amala Mukherjee (her maiden name) married the stalwart Telugu actor Akkineni Nagarjuna in 1992 and the couple has a son named Akkineni Akhil who is also an actor. The actress also has a stepson, Naga Chaitanya, a popular actor in the Telugu film industry.
When the Tamil actor-director, T. Rajendar offered Amala a role in the Tamil film Mythili Ennai Kaathili (1986) she accepted it and thus began her journey in the film industry. Whilst her debut film did not win her much recognition, she got wide attention for her role in Velaikaran (1987), where she starred alongside the superstar of Tamil cinema Rajinikanth. The film, which was the remake of the Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Smita Patil and Parveen Babi starring hit Hindi filmNamak Halaal, received critical praise and was a box office hit. The same year, the actress also made her debut in the Telugu film industry with Pushpaka Vimana, an Indian silent black comedy film, which is the first Indian silent full-length feature film. The film co-starring Kamal Haasan,Tinu Anand, andFarida Jalal garnered highly positive reviews and won many laurels including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The film was also made in Hindi as Pushpak and in Tamil as Pesum Padam.
Within three years of her foray in the Film industry, Amala established herself as one of the most accomplished and successful actors in the South Indian film industry. She continued her good run in 1989 and delivered two more blockbusters. The actress shared the screen with Rajinikanth in the Tamil action-comedy film Mappillai. The film opened to wide positive response and after a successful run for over 200 days in theaters, it was declared a blockbuster. Amala's other hit of the year was Siva, a Telugu-language crime drama film, which dealt with the subject of student exploitation by anti-social elements and the impact of crowd psychology. The film directed by Ram Gopal Varma was a massive critical hit and over the years achieved a cult status. In her solitary Hindi film of the year, the actress was paired with Mithun Chakraborty for the action-drama Dost directed by K. Murali Mohan Rao.
In 1990, Amala had a mixed year as two of her Telugu releases Raja Vikramarka co-starring Chiranjeevi and Aggiramudu co-starring Daggubati Venkatesh and Gautami Tadimalla did not perform at the box office. She more than made up for the flops with the super hit Tamil film Mounam Sammadham, a legal thriller directed by the K. Madhu. The film, which marked superstar Mammootty's debut in Tamil cinema was based on the life of a businessman who is falsely accused and the efforts of a lawyer to bail him out. Her other film of the year was the Kannada-language film Bannada Gejje co-starring Ravichandran, Amjad Khan and Kalyan Kumar.
The actress added another feather in her glorious career cap as she made her debut in a Malayalam film Ente Sooryaputhrikku (1991) alongside Suresh Gopi and Srividya. The bilingual film was also simultaneously shot in Tamil as Karpoora Mullai with the same cast. Her other films of the year include Nirnayam, Telugu action-drama film directed by Priyadarshan. The following year, the actress appeared in two Kannada films, viz. Ksheera Sagara and Belliyappa Bangarappa both of which failed to do well at the box office.
In 1992, after her marriage to Nagarjuna, the actress quit acting and after a gap of two decades she made her comeback on the silver screen in 2012 with the Telugu film Life is Beautiful. The coming-of-age drama film was directed by Sekhar Kammula and also featured Shriya Saran, Anjala Zaveri and Abijeet Duddala in pivotal roles. Although the film received mixed to negative critical reviews, Amala for her brilliant performance won the CineMAA Best Outstanding Actress Award and the Filmfare Award South for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The years later, the actress played a small role in the Hindi-language romantic drama Hamari Adhuri Kahani directed by Mohit Suri. This was followed by her return to Malayalam cinema after a 25-year hiatus with a pivotal role in the thriller drama C/O Saira Banu (2017), which also starred Manju Warrier and Shane Nigam. In 2018, Amala played a supporting role in the Bollywood comedy-drama Karwaan, which starred Dulquer Salmaan, Irrfan Khan and Mithila Palkar in central roles.