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Actor / Singer / Director Hindi

Nana Patekar

Nana Patekar Biography

Birth Name: Vishwanath Patekar

Born : 01 January 1951, in Murud-Janjira, Maharashtra, India




Nana Patekar

One of the most talented and accomplished actors in the film industry, Nana Patekar was born as Vishwanath Patekar in the small village of Murud-Janjira in Maharashtra on 1 January, 1951. His father worked in the textile business in Mumbai while the young Vishwanath lived in the village with his mother and two brothers. Attracted to theatre from an early age, Vishwanath would act in school plays in the village. Soon, his family moved to Mumbai but they fell on hard times after his father’s business collapsed in 1964. Barely 13 years old, Vishwanath started working part-time, printing cinema posters for a commercial artist. While working, he continued to juggle work with school and was actively involved with theatre. His interest in the arts led him to attend the JJ School of Commercial Art. After graduating in 1971, he got his first job as a visualiser for an advertising agency and dabbled in theatre in his free time. It was through theatre that he met his wife Neelkanti, whom he married in 1978. The pull of the stage was irresistible to Patekar and he soon began to pursue a full-time career as an actor. Adopting the stage name ‘Nana’, he made his mark with Vijay Mehta’s Hamidabai Chi Kothi (1979). At the time, his old friend Smita Patil convinced him to try his hand at films. He made his debut with a small role in Muzaffar Ali’s Smita Patil starrer Gaman (1978). He went onto to make brief appearances in several films but it wasn’t till his portrayal of Jagmohandas in Aaj Ki Awaz (1984) that he was really noticed.

Conscious of his looks, Nana shunned away from any role as a conventional hero. Instead, he sought opportunities that allowed him to portray more offbeat characters. In 1986, he starred in the socio-political drama Ankush (1986). After tasting success, he was cast opposite Madhuri Dixit in Mohre (1987) and a year later, he was seen in Mira Nair’s iconic debut feature, Salaam Bombay (1988). Patekar also acted in his sole directorial venture Prahaar: The Final Attack (1991), also starring Madhuri Dixit.

Though Patekar had established himself as a gifted actor in the 1980s, he was yet to make an impact on mainstream audiences. His chilling performance as the manic underworld don Anna in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s award-winning film, Parinda (1989), brought him widespread recognition and ‘Anna’ became one of the most iconic villains of Indian cinema. The role also earned him the National Film Award and Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor that year. His nuanced portrayal of the troubled and highly complex character ‘Pratap Narayan Tilak’ in Krantiveer (1994) brought him a second National Film Award, this time for Best Actor.

Patekar came to be known for his performances in negative roles, out of which ‘Anna’ in Parinda (1989), ‘Majid Khan’ in Angaar (1992) or ‘Tabrez Alam’ in Apaharan (2005) are the most memorable ones. However he has played a variety of roles ranging from an abusive husband in Agni Sakshi (1996) to a deaf father in Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), a schizophrenic in Wajood (1998) and a police officer in Ab Tak Chhapan (2004). Nana Patekar has showcased his exemplary skill as an actor through his tremendous versatility and talent. He has also appeared in comic roles in blockbusters like Bluffmaster (2005) and Welcome (2007).

He also starred in Ab Tak Chhappan 2 (2015) and Welcome Back (2015), both sequels to former hit movies in which he played roles.

While he continues to appear in films, his focus has shifted to theatre and he gives greater credence to his stage performances in recent times. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri for his contribution to the arts. Nana Patekar is also known for his generous nature. Apart from his various contributions to the underprivileged, he also started up the Naam Foundation in collaboration with Makarand Anaspure, with the intent of providing resources and aid to farmers suffering due to the droughts in Maharashtra.

Family Tree

Neelakanthi Patekar
Malhar Patekar
Gajanan Patekar
Nirmala Patekar