Born in Bhopal, Anoop Kakkad (also known as A R Kakkad) lost his parents when he was only a year old. He was brought up by his sister who lived in Jabalpur. He went to Bombay in 1939 to study architecture in the J J School of arts. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, he had to give up the course before its completion. He joined Bombay Talkies as a clerk in their art department. The art director L H Chirodia took him under his wing and had him promoted to art director.
His first independent assignment was in Majboori (1954). He soon left Bombay Talkies for Modern Studios where he subsequently worked for ten years. He struck up a partnership with Amiya Chakravarty and worked with him for four years. He designed the sets of Seema (1955) and Kathputli (1957). Both films were successful, while Kathputli ended up being Amiya Chakravarty’s last film. He formed the Art Director’s Association with other art directors in 1964. In 1959 he formed a partnership with fellow art director Baburao Poddar after working together on Nartakee (1963). Together they worked on Tamanna (1969) which earned them a Filmfare Award for Best Art Direction. They also worked together on Mohan Bijlani’s Upaasna (1971). He also worked on films like First Love (1961), Bezuban (1962), Ek Dil Sau Afsane (1963), Teesra Kaun (1965), Biradari (1966), Kismat (1969), Apradh (1972) and Raampur Ka Lakshman (1972). He was also in charge of the set design of Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s first film Arvind Desai ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978).
A R Kakkad was married and had a son and daughter. He also presided on many important decisions in the Art Director’s Association, one of them being limiting art directors in picking up only four films a year.