Antonio Aakeel

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Antonio Aakeel

Antonio Aakeel is an English actor. He was named by Screen International as a 2018 Star of Tomorrow for his leading role in Eaten by Lions.[1] He is known for appearing in Tomb Raider and the BAFTA award-winning series Three Girls. Aakeel was also cast alongside Riz Ahmed in the 2016 thriller City of Tiny Lights.

Early life[edit]

Antonio Aakeel (Antonio Khela) was born in Wolverhampton, England, and moved around the West Midlands as a child.[2] He caught the acting bug after being given a one-line role in a school nativity play and went on to hone his craft through local theatre, before being scouted by a talent agent.[3] He speaks Punjabi and Hindi.[4]



Aakeel starred as Nasir Baloch in the 2013 political short film The Line of Freedom directed by David Whitney. The film depicts the true story of a murdered student rights activist and premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival.[5] Upon its release, the film was immediately met with controversy and allegedly resulted in Aakeel becoming a target of death threats.[6] The film was subsequently prohibited in Pakistan and reportedly contributed to a national ban of IMDb.[7]

In 2015, he appeared as Raza in feature film The Contract, written by David Marconi and directed by Nic Auerbach.

He was cast alongside Riz Ahmed and Billie Piper in London crime thriller City of Tiny Lights directed by BAFTA winner Pete Travis.[8] The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2016 and released in UK cinemas April 2017.[9]

In December 2016, Aakeel landed a supporting role in The Hungry, Film London's contemporary feature adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus alongside Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra, directed by Bornila Chatterjee.[10] The Film premiered under special presentations at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[11]

It was announced in March 2017 that Aakeel will star as the lead in British feature film Eaten by Lions, starring opposite comedians Johnny Vegas and Jack Carroll, directed by Jason Wingard.[12][13]

Aakeel appeared in Tomb Raider (2018), directed by Roar Uthaug.[14]


Aakeel landed his first television role in the British series Skins. He was chosen over 500 hopefuls by director Charles Martin and appeared in series 3 of the E4 drama.[15]

He has gained guest-lead roles in BBC series Doctors and BBC One drama series Moving On directed by Reece Dinsdale.[16][17][18][19]

In 2016, Aakeel was cast in Guilty Pleasures directed by Sonny Michael Chohan, a TV drama pilot based on real life sex trafficking circles in the UK.[20]

In May 2017 he appeared in the three-part BBC One drama Three Girls directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe.[21]


In 2013, he played the title role in the stage adaptation of Guantanamo Boy. The play ran at the Half Moon Theatre and toured nationally at Middle Temple Hall, Almeida Theatre, The Hat Factory, Mercury Theatre, Burnley Youth Theatre and The Drum Theatre.[22] The Stage's Susan Elkin wrote Aakeel "is great as the distraught, anguished, terrified Khalid. The downhill spiral followed by the final return of a damaged-for-life boy to Rochdale is well handled too. He has a very expressive face."[23]

In 2015, he played the lead role of Artie in Waiting for Garbo at the Crescent Theatre as part of the Birmingham Theatre Festival. Love Midlands Theatre reviewed the performance, commenting his "portrayal of a brash New Yorker falling apart is utterly convincing."[24]

Antonio has also performed locally with Midlands based theatre company Round Midnight.[25]


Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Line of Freedom Nasir Baloch
2015 The Contract Raza
2016 City of Tiny Lights 'Young' Lovely
2017 The Hungry Chirag Joshi
2017 Eaten by Lions Omar
2018 Tomb Raider Nitin Ahuja
2019 Badla Sunny Singh Toor
Year Title Role
2009 Skins Trevor
2014 Doctors Aasim Masood
2016 Guilty Pleasures Imi
Doctors Mark 'Stotty' Stott
Moving On Mati Ahmadi
2017 Three Girls Immy


  1. ^ "Stars of Tomorrow". Screen Daily. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Wolverhampton actor secures feature-length international film role". NativeMonster. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Birmingham actor makes Hollywood Debut". What's On Birmingham. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Interview with Antonio Aakeel". Scottish Asian Magazine. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  5. ^ "The Line of Freedom Premiere". Dubai Film Festival. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Where Is The Mainstream Coverage Of The Crisis In Balochistan?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  7. ^ "The Line of Freedom and the brief IMDb ban in Pakistan". Global Voices. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Meet the young cast of City of Tiny Lights". ScreenTerrier. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Popular Birmingham actor to make big screen debut". I Am Birmingham. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Meet the Birmingham actor who has been cast in an international Shakespeare film". StyleBham. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  11. ^ "The Hungry - TIFF". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Antonio Aakeel to star as lead in British feature Eaten by Lions". IAG. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  13. ^ "BHAM MAIL". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Birmingham actor Antonio Aakeel to star with Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider re-boot". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Antonio Aakeel - NewUrban". NUBI. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  16. ^ "BBC Doctors". BBC. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Antonio Aakeel will star in BBC series Moving On". Identity Drama. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Moving On returns as BBC One reveals new commissions". Prolific North. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  19. ^ "BBC's Doctors to explore gender identity issues for the first time". Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  20. ^ "Child grooming drama to premiere in Birmingham". I Am Birmingham. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Antonio Aakeel set to appear in BBC drama". Asian Image. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Review: Guantanamo Boy". Children's Theatre Reviews. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Guantanamo Boy Theatre Review - WhatsonStage Susan Elkin". Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Waiting For Garbo Theatre Review". Love Midlands Theatre. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Follow me theatre play a success". The Redditch Standard. Retrieved 15 September 2016.

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