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Special 14: Artistes who won multiple National awards

As veteran Surekha Sikri receives her third National award for Best Supporting Actress for Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s Badhaai Ho (2018), we look at the others on this exclusive list.

Sonal Pandya

Not too many artistes have more than one National acting award under their belt. Actress Surekha Sikri picked up her third for Badhaai Ho (2018) on 9 August. We look at the other talented actors and actresses who join her in this elite club.

1. Shabana Azmi

Ankur (1974), Arth (1982), Khandhar (1984), Paar (1984), Godmother (1999)

Shabana Azmi holds the record for most National acting awards — five. With her first film release, Shabana Azmi picked up the National award for Shyam Benegal's Ankur. From 1982 to 1984, she won the honour in three successive years, a feat no one has replicated yet. Though Khandhar and Paar were both released in 1984, her performance in Khandhar was awarded for the year 1983. Her last win was for Vinay Shukla's Godmother, a film in which she portrayed Rambhi, an illiterate villager who becomes a powerful politician.

2. Amitabh Bachchan

Agneepath (1990), Black (2005), Paa (2009), Piku (2015)

Amitabh Bachchan picked up the fourth of his National acting awards for his performance as the 70-year-old widower Bhaskor Banejee in Shoojit Sircar's Piku (2015). This was also his third award in just over a decade. The superstar’s first National award came for his role as the iconic gangster Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in Agneepath (1990). His roles in Black (2005) and Paa (2009) as a special needs teacher and a special needs student, respectively, demonstrated his range.

3. Kangana Ranaut

Fashion (2008), Queen (2014), Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)

Kangana Ranaut's third National award for Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) is the first time anyone got the award for a reprised character. In the popular sequel of Tanu Weds Manu (2011), Kangana Ranaut played the fearless Tanu who meets her doppelganger, and her match, in Datto, the determined athlete her husband is due to wed. Just the year before, she had won the award for her lovable portrayal of Rani, a jilted bride going on a honeymoon by herself. Kangana Ranaut's first National award for Best Supporting Actress came in 2008 for Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion in which her character, Shonali Gujral, a former supermodel, falls from grace.

4. Nana Patekar

Parinda (1989), Krantiveer (1994), Agni Sakshi (1996)

After going under the radar for many typical Hindi and Marathi feature films in the 1980s, Nana Patekar broke through with two landmark films at the end of the decade. He was part of the ensemble cast in Mira Nair's Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! (1988) and his villainous turn as Anna in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Parinda (1989) left a lasting impression on cinegoers. Parinda also brought him his first National award for Best Supporting Actor. Two other awards (one for the lead and another for a supporting role) for his fiery parts in Krantiveer (1994) and Agni Sakshi (1996) followed.

5. Naseeruddin Shah

Sparsh (1979), Paar (1984), Iqbal (2006)

Naseeruddin Shah, a graduate of the National School of Drama as well as the Film and Television Institute of India, began his career with the parallel cinema of Shyam Benegal. He was honoured early in his career for his nuanced lead performances in Sparsh (1979) and Paar (1984). A supporting award for his role as a washed-up cricketer who turns, much against his own wishes, to coaching in Nagesh Kukunoor's Iqbal came in 2007.

6. Pankaj Kapur

Raakh (1988), Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990), Maqbool (2003)

Pankaj Kapur managed to work in both films and television, making a name in both media. After making his film debut in Shyam Benegal's Arohan (1982), Pankaj Kapur quickly became the character actor of choice, especially after his supporting actor award for Raakh (1988) opposite Aamir Khan and Supriya Pathak. He received a Special Jury award for his role as the beleaguered Dr Roy who comes upon a leprosy vaccine. Thirteen years later, he won another Supporting Actor award for Vishal Bhardwaj's remake of Macbeth.

7. Surekha Sikri

Tamas (1987), Mammo (1994), Badhaai Ho (2018)

Veteran theatre actress Surekha Sikri, an alumna of the National School of Drama, now has three National awards to her name. Today she is mostly known for her television roles in which she usually plays the strict elderly grandparent. Two of her supporting awards for Govind Nihalani's Tamas (1987), in which she played a victim of the widespread communal violence after Partition, and Shyam Benegal's Mammo (1994), as the sister of Farida Jalal's eponymous character, allowed her to portray more realistic characters. She recently picked her third, after a 25-year gap, as another grandmother, albeit in a comedy, Badhaai Ho (2018), with co-stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao.

8. Ajay Devgn

Zakhm (1998), The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)

Primarily known for his action films, Ajay Devgn has won two National awards for roles taken from real-life events. In Zakhm (1998), he played a fictionalized version of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt coming to terms with his family's past and his mother's death. Ajay Devgn received his second National award for portraying the life of Bhagat Singh. His performance stood out amidst three biopics on the legendary freedom fighter which were released that same year.

9. Sanjeev Kumar

Dastak (1970), Koshish (1972)

Sanjeev Kumar and his debutante co-star Rehana Sultana both picked up National awards for their roles as the newlyweds Hamid and Salma in Rajinder Singh Bedi's directorial debut, Dastak. The rare black-and-white film was an adaptation of Bedi's radio play, Naql-e-Makani, which was broadcast in 1944. Sanjeev Kumar won his second National award two years later for Gulzar's Koshish in which he and Jaya Bhaduri played a deaf-mute couple navigating the ups and downs of daily life.

10. Smita Patil

Bhumika (1977), Chakra (1981)

The former television announcer-turned-actress had several versatile performances in her short 10-year career before dying of complications in childbirth. Known for films like Manthan (1976), Arth (1982) and Mirch Masala (1987), Smita Patil won her two National awards for features not widely recognized by audiences of the time. In Bhumika, she took on the role of a lifetime based on the life of Marathi actress Hansa Wadkar, while in Chakra, she played Amma, a poor woman trying to provide for herself and her young son.

11. Om Puri

Arohan (1981), Ardh Satya (1983)

Om Puri, a batchmate of Naseeruddin Shah at the National School of Drama, won his two National awards back to back for powerful performances in Arohan and Ardh Satya, the first on land reforms and the second on the police. Working under directors Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani, Om Puri got the chance to portray two milestone characters early on in his career. After that, he acted in around 260 diverse films, both independent and mainstream, in India and abroad.

12. Tabu

Maachis (1996), Chandni Bar (2001)

Tabu, like her aunt Shabana Azmi, is a National award-winner. Straddling regional cinema as well as international projects, Tabu has earned a reputation for choosing strong author-backed roles. Her first win came for Gulzar's Maachis in which she played a young Punjabi woman who helplessly watches her fiancé turn into an insurgent. Tabu's second National award was for her portrayal of Mumtaz, a bar dancer who longs to escape her traumatic life.

13. Atul Kulkarni

Hey Ram (1999), Chandni Bar (2001)

Atul Kulkarni picked up his second National Award for his portrayal of the over-reaching gangster Potya Sawant. His first National award, also for Best Supporting Actor, was for Kamal Haasan's Hey Ram (1999) in which he played the Hindu extremist Shriram Abhyankar with a vendetta against Gandhi. Since then, he has continued to act in a number of regional films across India.

14. Konkona Sensharma

Mr and Mrs Iyer (2003), Omkara (2007)

Konkona Sensharma won her first National award for Mr and Mrs Iyer (2002), an English film directed by her mother Aparna Sen. She played Meenakshi Iyer, a young mother whose world changes dramatically after a journey home accompanied by a man who is not her husband and not of her faith. Her next, for Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara, had her essaying the role of Indu, wife of Saif Ali Khan's Langda Tyagi, who gets caught up in the harsh and corrupt dealings of the UP badlands in this Indian remake of William Shakespeare's Othello.

Related topics

National Awards