Born in a large middle class family in Karnataka, Vikram Makandar was bitten by the acting bug when he saw Nagin (1954) as a child. His mind was made up, but a number of obstacles stood in his way. The film industry had still not shaken off its earlier associations with disreputability, and his father owned a business that Vikram as the eldest of eleven siblings stood to inherit. His dreams of becoming an actor were therefore not received too well by his family. Not very interested in academics, Vikram excelled at extra-curricular activities. He had completed his BSc. Degree and shifted to Bangalore to study when he came across an admission announcement for the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.
With his enrollment at FTII, Vikram Makandar’s brief stint as an actor had begun. His first role onscreen was as a member of the supporting cast in the Manoj Kumar-Waheeda Rehman starrer Patthar Ke Sanam (1967). Opposite Vani Ganpathy, Vikram played the male lead for the first time in Pyasi Nadi (1973). He appeared onscreen in a few small roles in films like Phir Kab Milogi (1974) and Jab Andhera Hota Hai(1974) before his big break with Julie (1975). Playing the role of the young man who leaves the unwed heroine in the lurch when she is pregnant, Vikram said in later interviews that signing the film may have been a blunder on his part, and affected the roles he was offered following this. He even commented that though he had 20 offers lined up before Julie released, after the release there were no more.
The signing amounts he was offered, however, were still impressive, and helped secure his financial future. While he continued to act in some roles, he started his own production house and made his first film, Situm (1991) under the banner. Starring Naseeruddin Shah and Smita Patil, the film was made on a tight budget, and did fairly well. Venturing into distribution as well, Vikram has continued to be involved in the film industry in his other capacities. As of 2008, he had over 40 films to his credit as an actor.