First awarded 1967
First awardees Uttam Kumar
Cash award 50,000 INR (US$790)
|Category Indian Cinema|
Last awarded 2015
Total awarded 54
|Description Best Performance by an Actor|
Medal Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus)
Awarded by Directorate of Film Festivals
People also search for National Film Award for Best Feature Film
The National Film Award for Best Actor, officially known as the Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Actor ([rədʒət̪ kəməl]), is an honour presented annually at the National Film Awards of India instituted only since 1967 to actors who have delivered the best performance in a leading role within the Indian film industry. Called the "State Awards for Films" when established in 1954, the National Film Awards ceremony is older than the Directorate of Film Festivals. The State Awards instituted the individual award in 1968 as the "Bharat Award for the Best Actor"; in 1975, it was renamed as the "Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Actor". Throughout the past 45 years, accounting for ties and repeat winners, the Government of India has presented a total of 52 "Best Actor" awards to 40 actors. Until 1974, winners of the National Film Award received a figurine and certificate; since 1975, they have been awarded with a "Rajat Kamal" (silver lotus), certificate and a cash prize.
Although the Indian film industry produces films in around 20 languages and dialects, the actors whose performances have won awards have worked in seven major languages: Hindi (twenty-two awards), Malayalam (thirteen awards), Tamil (seven awards), Bengali (four awards), Marathi (three awards), Kannada (three awards) and English (two awards).
The first recipient was Uttam Kumar from Bengali cinema, who was honoured at the 15th National Film Awards in 1968 for his performances in Anthony Firingee and Chiriyakhana. As of 2016, Amitabh Bachchan is the most honoured actor, with four awards. Two actors—Kamal Haasan and Mammootty—have been honoured three times, while six actors—Sanjeev Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Mohanlal, and Ajay Devgn—have won the award two times. Mithun Chakraborty and Mammootty are the only two actors who have achieved the honour for performing in two languages. The former was awarded in 1977 for the Hindi film Mrigayaa and in 1993 for the Bengali film Tahader Katha. Mammootty was bestowed with the award for his performances in four Malayalam films: for Mathilukal and Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha in 1990 and for Ponthan Mada and Vidheyan in 1994 ; and in 1999 for starring as B. R. Ambedkar in the English film Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (jointly shared with Devgn). The most recent recipient is Bachchan, who was honoured at the 63rd National Film Awards for his performance in the 2015 Hindi film Piku.