Nagesh Kukunoor was born in Hyderabad to Kusuma Sudarshan and KS Naidu. He completed his high school education at Montfort School, Yercaud. He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad and a master’s degree in the same field from Georgia Institute of Technology. After this, he started working at Trinity Consultants in Texas and then Atlanta as an Environmental Consultant. During this period, he attended various workshops in the film. Later, at Warehouse Actor’s Theater in Atlanta he studied acting and direction. He stepped into the film industry in the year 1995, with a short film, One Culture At a Time of which he was the director, producer, and screenwriter. His next movie, Hyderabad Blues in the year 1998 saw him stepping into the shoes of an actor as well. It was his Debut Feature Film and won Audience Award for best film at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival in Atlanta as well as Rhode Island Film Festival.
The movie was shot in seventeen days and had a budget of Rs. 1.7 million. He did Rockford next which was an English film. He did a big budget film 3 Deewarein, in the year 2003. Established actors like
Juhi Chawla, and
Jackie Shroff acted in the movie. This movie won the Filmfare award for best story in 2004. In the year 2006, he made a remake of a Malayalam movie Perumazhakkalam as a Hindi movie Dor, which starred
Gul Panag, and
Shreyas Talpade as lead actors. He played the role of a businessman in this movie. Critics appreciated the movie. The film that won Nagesh a lot of critical acclaim as a director is Iqbal. It was written by Vipul K Rawal. It also won the National Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues in the year 2006. Lakshmi, which again saw him in the role of actor, director, producer and screen writer, won the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award, for Best Narrative at Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2014.
His latest film Dhanak won the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the best feature-length film. The movie has a special mention by Children’s Jury in Generation Kplus section.