Akhila Bhargavan: Premalu helped me get recognition from within the industry

Actor Akhila Bhargavan speaks about her newfound recognition post-Premalu and the transition from social media to the silver screen
Akhila Bhargavan: Premalu helped me get recognition from within the industry

Akhila Bhargavan is on cloud nine, post the theatrical success of Premalu. The film has earned her the spotlight, with a newfound appreciation from the general public and industry people alike. "I'm so happy that people are loving Premalu and finding a connection with Karthika, my character. The film also helped me get recognition from within the industry. Director Fazil sir called me to commend my performance. I also received messages from actors like Grace Antony, Vincy Aloshious, and Anna Ben," she says.

Akhila's journey from being a social media sensation to an actor in the Malayalam film industry is a testament to seizing opportunities. Hailing from Payyanur, a town in the northern part of Kerala, Akhila's early aspirations were grounded in a conventional path, far from the glitz and glamour of showbiz, despite her focus on dancing from childhood till graduation. However, destiny had a different trajectory in mind, which drew her towards a recently acquired passion—acting.

Before entering into films, Akhila's talents were showcased in the digital sphere. "Back in 2016 or 2017, before Instagram introduced reels, many people were engaging in similar content creation on platforms like Musical.ly and Dubsmash. It was during this time that I decided to become active on these apps. One of my reels, where I imitated Arya chechi from the TV show Badai Bunglow, went viral. That led to an invitation to appear as a guest on the show, which sparked my interest in acting," recounts Akhila.

During her college years, Akhila attempted auditioning for a couple of films, but unfortunately, none of them panned out. She then focused on earning her postgraduate degree and securing a job and then got married. After tying the knot, Akhila and her husband started making reels together, finding joy in this shared activity. Unexpectedly, this pastime opened doors for Akhila, leading to an opportunity to act in a short film titled Anurag Engineering Works (2022), which marked her debut as an actor.

Speaking about how the opportunity came her way, Akhila says, "After watching my reels, the makers approached me and asked about my interest in acting in the short film. They then sent me a few scenes from the script, asking me to perform them and send back the recordings, which I promptly did. Later, I had an in-person audition with the lead actor of the short film, Vineeth ettan. It was during this audition that I also met Girish ettan (Premalu director), who was one of the producers of the short film."

Acting in Anurag Engineering Works paved the way for her film debut, Poovan (2023), directed by Vineeth Vasudevan, the lead actor in the former. Reflecting on the transition from short film to feature film, Akhila adds, "Unlike short films, the entire landscape was different in cinema. Each aspect of filmmaking had separate departments and a different set of people. Also, I had the opportunity to act alongside much more experienced actors."

Later, Akhila went on to act in Ayalvaashi (2023) followed by this year's blockbuster Premalu, which went on to change the course of her career. During the audition for her role as Karthika in Premalu, she performed the scene which takes place in a pub, along with a few other scenes. "After being selected, I got the script of the film. Only upon reading it entirely, I realized that I had a prominent role," says Akhila. 

When it comes to the support from her family in pursuing acting as a full-time career after resigning her job as a microbiologist, Akhila gives the most credit to her husband and brother. "Whenever a film offer or script comes my way, they are equally involved as I am," she reveals.

While the actor is unable to reveal any details about her upcoming projects, Akhila signs off by sharing her excitement about the films, for which she has already completed filming.

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