Earlier Filmfare award – the most prestigious award given to Bollywood films was reserved for the most deserving candidates and in the past two decades or so, it’s seen only as a popular award given to the most popular stars rather than giving importance to their onscreen performances. Many times it seems the nominations are ridiculous and less significance is given to talent.
In the old era of Bollywood, it was a competition between talent vs talent, and many great artists have lost Filmfare awards to more deserving candidates who won it multiple times. For instance – Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Meena Kumari, Nargis, Vyjayanthimala etc. Talent was awarded than popularity in those days. Best instance is the choice of Ashok Kumar over Rajesh Khanna for the year 1969 despite Khanna won instant stardom and popularity through the double role he played in Aaradhana. But in the recent times, where glamour and star status are given much preference to real talent, many artists have lost Filmfare Awards which they truly deserve. The most leading names in this case are Tabu, Manisha Koirala, Urmila and Ajay Devgan.
Katrina Kaif, Salman Khan and Govinda – A list of A-Grade actors who never won Filmfare Award for Best Actor/Actress – A screenshot from the movie, Partner.
Critics’ choice awards have been introduced in Filmfare awards in 1991. Very often I feel why are there two awards in many categories – In Critics’ choice and Popular Choice, where the most deserving actor or film should be given the single award in the respective category, instead of dividing it into two categories. For the same reason, very talented actors such as Ajay Devgan and Tabu who won multiple critics’ award and National film awards have never received an award in Best Actor/Actress category. Though popular actors like Salman Khan has never won an award in this category, his films run on star power than talent, as everyone knows. So no regrets! But he has narrowly missed it many times, when the award was given to someone else which he deserved mostly.
Leaving behind all those discussions, I would like to focus on those top 10 most popular Bollywood stars who have never won a Filmfare award in best actor/actress category. Most of them have been nominated multiple times, and have also received supporting actor/critics’ choice trophies though their dreams to win the black lady for best actor/actress never came true.
1. Ajay Devgan – Winner of two National awards for Hindi films
The leading names in my list are of course Ajay Devgan and Tabu. Let me start with Ajay Devgan. Ajay is one among those popular Bollywood stars who is blessed with real talent also. His expressive eyes tell everything. He need not recite lengthy dialogues to impress his fans. His highly expressive eyes are enough to immaculately tell everything he wishes to say through dialogues. Ajay Devgan and Kajol form the most talented couple of Bollywood right now, whose emotions are expressed through eyes than words, and definitely no other actor can beat both. His performance in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam put him in the main lead of actors.
Title Track from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam – The movie which placed Ajay Devgan among the top list of talented actors
Till now, Ajay has won One Filmfare Critics’ award for the year 2002. He won the award for his performance in Company and The Legend of Bhagat Singh. He won National Film Award for Best actor twice for his performances in Zakhm and The Legend of Bhagat Singh. He is a winner of three Filmfare awards in Best debut (male), Best Villain and Best Actor (Critics’ Choice) categories.
He narrowly missed the Filmfare Award for the movies – Zakhm, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Once Upon A Time in Mumbai. Let us hope he won an award in best actor category very soon.
2. Tabu – With maximum nominations in female category without any win
She got stuck with the delayed release of her debut film . Though she has never worked with leading three Khans of Bollywood in a full-fledged role, she created a niche of her own in the industry solely due to her talent. Major of her films have not earned big figures at box office except a few. But majority of her films have met with critics’ appreciation and elite awards also. Winner of two National awards in the best actress category and a record win of Critics’ award at Filmfare for four times, she has never won Filmfare Award for best actress!
Known for portraying several woman-centric roles on screen, she has displayed power-packed performances in most of her roles belonging to offbeat categories. Maachis, Virasat, Astitva, Chandini Bar, Hu Tu Tu, Haider, Cheeni Kum and Drishyam are among her major movies which won her multiple awards and nominations. She currently holds the unlucky record in Filmfare for being nominated maximum number of times in best actress category without winning a single award. She has been nominated six times, most recently in 2019. Till now she has won 6 Filmfare awards in Critics’ choice, Best debut and supporting actress categories.
3. Salman Khan – With maximum nominations without any win
A screen shot from Albela Sajan song of iconic movie – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
The top man in the list, Salman is the most popular Bollywood star who has never won Filmfare Award in Best Actor category. Currently Salman is the leading star of Bollywood, and most of his films are huge blockbusters. However he holds the unlucky record of being nominated 9 times in Best actor category without ever winning, more number of times among all Bollywood actors/actresses. Though his acting skills have being highly appreciated in the late 1980s and 1990s throughout, he faced critics’ negative responses for not bringing any improvements in acting skills and acting as a buffoon in comic roles such as Hello Brother. His films have poor screenplay too. In the recent times, except Sultan and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, his roles failed to receive critics’ appreciation.
As an actor, Meine Pyar Kiya, Tere Naam, Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Karan Arjun, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Jab Pyar Kise Se Hota Hai, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam definitely rank top among his films in terms of performances. Debaang series and Wanted are known for his power-packed performances. He played supporting roles and cameo appearances in a series of Bollywood films, and won Filmfare award in best supporting actor category for the movie – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It’s the single Filmfare award he received in the career spanning to about three decades in the industry. He narrowly missed the award for the movies – Meine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Tere Naam. Also read: Top songs of Salman-Himesh Reshammiya combination
4. Dharmendra – With three nominations
He-man of Bollywood is known for his romantic image in the 1960s and with 1970s, he moved to action roles as well, and he gained immense popularity in both these genres. One of the top heroes of Bollywood in the 1960s, he had a huge fan following crowd, and he has also exhibited his talents in comic roles for movies such as Chupke Chupke and Sholay, which became huge hits. Despite being staying in Bollywood as lead hero for a long period and owns several successful movies to his credit, he has never won a Filmfare award in Best actor category.
Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Blackmail) – The evergreen romantic track sung by Kishore Kumar featuring Dharmendra and Rakhee
He is one among those leading actors of Bollywood who immensely desired to win the ‘black lady’ at least once, but couldn’t win it. He had a fair chance to win the award for his performance in Satyakam in 1969 which is regarded as his finest performance up-to-date. But he couldn’t even win a Filmfare nomination for this film. Till now he has received 4 nominations in Filmfare Award for Best Actor, and one each in supporting and comic role categories. But he couldn’t win any. He received two Filmfare awards till now including one Life Time Achievement Award and in the award giving ceremony, he broke into emotions expressing his grief for never winning the award.
This handsome hero has been nominated in best actor category for the movies – Phool Aur Pathar, Yaadom Ke Baraat, Mera Gaon Mera Desh and Resham Ki Dori. Satyakam, Sholay, Satyakam, Bandini, Blackmail, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Kajal, Ayee Milan Ki Bela, Seeta Aur Geeta, Yakein, Anupama, Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, Jeevan Mrithyu and Chupke Chupke are among his most popular roles onscreen.
5. Rajendra Kumar – Who never won any major acting awards despite being popular
Jubilee Kumar Rajendra was one of the top heroes of Bollywood in the 1960s. He got the name ‘Jubilee Kumar’ as most of his films turned to be jubilee hits. He had a huge fan following crowd in the 1960s, when he was one of the most sought romantic heroes of Bollywood. Despite playing lead roles in a series of Jubilee hits in the 1960s, he has never received any award for any film role. However he was nominated in Filmfare for best actor thrice for the movies – Dil Ek Mandir, Ayee Milan Ki Bela and Arzoo in successive years, and also received National Honour for his performance in Kanoon. He was also nominated in Filmfare Best Supporting actor category for Sangham.
Some of his classic hits include Mother India, Mere Mehboob Dil Ek Mandir, Arzoo, Sangham, Kanoon, Suraj, Dhool Ka Phool, Goonj Uthi Shehnai and Ayee Milan Ki Bela.
6. Mala Sinha – With four nominations though being a highly paid actress of her time
She ruled Bollywood screen for almost two decades since mid-1950s, and played lead heroine in some of the classic movies such as Dhool Ka Phool, Pyaasa, Maya, Dil Tera Deewana, Maryada, Hariyali Aur Rasta, Himalay Ki Gode Mein, Anpat, Bahurani, Phir Kab Milogi, Night in London, Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, Do Kaliyaan, Geet, Gumrah, Gehra Daag, Patang, Apne Huye Paraye, Aankhein, Jahan Ara and many more.
This beautiful actress remained one of the glorious stars of 1960s and has been nominated in Filmfare Best actress category four items. However she never won any. Decades – 1950s and 1960s are known for several phenomenal actresses on silver screen such as Nargis, Nutan, Vyjayanthimala, Waheeda Rahman and Meena Kumari who frequently received the award in both these decades. For the same reason many successful actresses who mostly appeared in commercial movies never earned an award.
7. Shashi Kapoor who has never been nominated in best actor category
The most charming male star of Kapoor family, he established as a romantic hero in the 1960s, and he later turned an action hero mostly supporting Amitabh Bachchan in the 1970s. Shashi Kapoor has been successful as a supporting actor for several hits of 1970s and 1980s. He owns a long and successful career in Bollywood, and also owns several solo romantic hits such as Pyar Ka Mausam, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Haseena Maan Jayegee, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Sharmeli etc. However he has never been nominated in best actor category at Filmfare awards. Surprising, but true! But he won the prestigious National award for best actor for Hindi movie, New Delhi Times apart from Special Jury award for Muhafiz.
As a supporting actor, Shashi Kapoor has been nominated thrice and he won it for Deewar. His screen chemistry with Amitabh Bachchan for movies such as Deewar, Kabhi Kabhi, Namak Halal, Suhaag and Silsila have earned him accolades. Read his top classic 15 Bollywood songs.
8. Sadhana Shivdasani who got nominated in the successive years
The timeless beauty Sadhana who became extremely popular through ‘Sadhana hair cut’ has been a top grade actress of 1960s, and regarded as one of the most beautiful faces of Bollywood. As a lead actress too, she has delivered some of super hit films such as Mere Mehmood, Woh Kaun Thi, Mera Saaya, Rajkumar, Arzoo, Love in Shimla, Waqt, Hum Dono, Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, Parakh, Budtameez etc. She was nominated in successive years for the movies – Woh Kaun Thi and Waqt, though she couldn’t win.
The evergreen song ‘Ajee Rootkar Ab’ from Arzoo sung by Lata Mangeshkar
She has worked in only lesser number of movies due to her eye problems. Yet most of them remained successful. She was one of the leading ladies of yesterdays who truly deserved a Filmfare award. However she never received any leading award for her acting skills. She also preferred to remain away from limelight after she took retirement from film industry. Read top songs of Lata Mangeshkar-Madan Mohan combination featuring Sadhana.
9. Urmila Matondkar – With three nominations
Urmila remained one of the top actresses of second half of 1990s. With her path breaking role in Rangeela, she became a sex symbol. Yet she proved herself to be an extremely talented actress through the powerful roles she portrayed in Satya, Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, Kaun, Judai, Pinjar, Ek Haseena Thi and Khoobsurat. She is regarded as one of the extremely talented and beautiful actresses of Bollywood in the past two decades, and she owns all the essences to become a Bollywood superstar.
Urmila received Filmfare nomination for best actress category in three years, though she couldn’t win. She was also nominated in supporting actress and negative role categories one time each. She earned her single Filmfare award for the movie – Bhoot (Best actress – Critics’ Choice).
10. Akshay Kumar who is less offered performance oriented films
Last, but not least is superstar Akshay Kumar – one of the hard working actors of Bollywood at present. Most known for his action movies, and ‘Khiladi’ image, he has been offered less number of films performance-oriented. That’s the reason why he couldn’t earn Filmfare award for best actor. In a career spanning to 25 years, he has always improved himself and put great efforts in experimenting with his roles which he succeeded most times. He also never heisted to accept negative roles such as Khiladi 420, Ajnabee etc. He also retains his physique and exhibits his talents as an action hero, and remains one of the most cashable heroes of Bollywood at present.
A screenshot from the sizzling track of Aitraaz
In the recent times, most of his movies have reached 100-crore club. Holiday, Air Lift, Housefull 3, Rustom, Baby, Brothers and Gabbar is Back are his recent blockbuster movies. Apart from Khiladi series, Houseful series and comedy flicks with Priyadarshan made him successful in Bollywood. Read more about Priyadarshan’s remakes starring Akshay Kumar
. Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng, Mujhse Shaadi Karoge, OMG: Oh My God!, Atraaz, Dhadkan and Mohra are other major hits. Akshay Kumar has been nominated in Best Actor category at Filmfare four times, though he couldn’t win any. Among 11 nominations in different categories, he managed to win two awards in best comedian and best villain categories.
Other leading heroes who never earned this popular award
Saif Ali Khan and Vidya Balan in Parineeta
Jeetendra is one among the senior most actors who never earned Filmfare award for best actor. Started his career in the 1960s, he later moved to remakes of many south Indian hits which remained successful. Despite spending about three decades playing lead hero roles, he has never been nominated in Filmfare. But he gained immense popularity as a successful hero, mostly in the 1980s. He was honored with Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award in 2014.
Next leading name is of course the entertainer of Bollywood – Govinda known for No: 1 series and successful comedies in association with David Dhawan. He has been nominated 5 times each in the best actor and best comedian categories, and once in best villain category. Of those 11 nominations, he received only one award for Haseena Maan Jayege, which he earned in Best Comedian category. Apart from it he won Filmfare Special Award for Saajan Chale Sasural.
Among the leading actors of 1970s and 1980s, Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna deserve special mention. Quite co-incidence both earned a nomination in best actor category only once, and supporting actor category thrice. Vinod Khanna received his Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Haath Ki Safai while Sinha has never got an award in both these categories. Mithun Chakraborty won National award winner for his debut Bollywood film, ‘Mrigaya’, but never received Filmfare awards in best actor category.
Among leading actors of yesterdays, extremely talented Guru Dutt needs special mention. He was nominated only once for the movie – Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Same is the case of Raaj Kumar who was nominated for Kaajal.
Among popular actors of today, Manoj Bajpai is one such extremely talented actor who has been nominated in this category once, but yet to receive this popular award. But he earned two Critics’ choice award for best actor.
Irrfan Khan and Rajkummar Rao are two more extremely talented actors who have never earned this award. But both have bagged Filmfare Award for best actor (Critics’ choice) and National award for Best actor in the consecutive years for the movies, Paan Singh Tomar and Shahid respectively. Rajkummar Rao is yet to receive a Filmfare nomination in best actor category. Irrfan Khan won the honour in 2018 while Rajkummar Rao received his first Filmfare nomination in 2019. Though Rao is a recipient two Filmfare awards for best actor in Critics’ choice category, he is yet to receive this award in popular category.
Extremely talented Abhay Deol and popular actor Saif Ali Khan also deserve special mention in this list of non-award winners. Saif Ali Khan is a recipient of National Film Award for best actor. However he is yet to receive this award in Filmfare. He is a recipient of 6 Filmfare awards in different categories and 4 more nominations up-to-date which include two nominations in best actor category. Emraan Hashmi, John Abraham, Tushar Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Bachchan and Imran Khan are a few more, though they still have to prove themselves to the main lead of performers.
Other leading heroines who have never won this popular award
Among the top heroines of yesterdays, Tanuja is a veteran actress who played lead roles throughout 1960s and 1970s, but never received any nomination or award in this category. But she received Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Paisa Ya Pyar and a nomination in the same category for Jewel Thief. Read Top 12 songs featuring Tanuja. Nanda, Babita, Rajshree, Saira Banu, Priya Rajvansh, Rehana Sultan, Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi, Reena Roy, Jayaprada, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Poonam Dhillon are a few more actresses of yesterdays who have never won this award. But they have been associated with many successful films during the period 1960s-1980s.
Raat Akeli Hai song from Jewel Thief featuring Tanuja and Dev Anand
Among actresses of today, Manisha Koirala’s name definitely tops the list. One of the most sought actresses of 1990s extremely talented Manisha received 4 nominations for best actress with three in a row. However she couldn’t win any. But she won Filmfare Critics Award three times for Best Performance for Bombay, Company and Khamoshi – the movies regarded as her career best. She also bagged Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil for the multi-lingual Bombay.
Among other leading glamorous ladies of 1990s, Raveena Tandon has been one of the top A-grade artists who never been nominated for this award. But she is a recipient of National award for best actress for her performance in Hindi movie – Daman. And she is also a recipient of two Filmfare awards including Special Performance Award for Aks.
Elo Jee Sanam song from Andaaz Apna Apna featuring Aamir Khan and Raveena Tandon
Konkana Sen Sharma is a talented actress who has never received a nomination in this category. Ex-Miss Universes – Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta, and the cute Genelia D’Souza too have never been nominated. Shilpa Shetty, Mahima Chaudhry, Bipasha Basu, Bhumika Chawla, Asin, Ameesha Patel, Anushka Sharma and Priya Gill are other leading names of 1990s and 2000s who have managed to gain nomination in this category, but couldn’t convert the nomination to an award.
The title track of Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage featuring Ameesha Patel and Hrithik Roshan
Among the top actresses of today – Katrina Kaif, Shraddha Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sonam Kapoor have already started dreaming about their maiden Filmfare award. They have bagged nominations in this category and have a promising career ahead.
If I have missed any popular name to mention, please let me know.
I have added a big list of articles on Filmfare Awards, the most celebrated film awards of Hindi cinema. Here is the page link. Click on the images to read.