|National Film Award for Best Actress|
|Awarded for||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role|
|Sponsored by||Directorate of Film Festivals|
|Formerly called||Urvashi Award (1967–1973)|
|Most recent winner||Kangana Ranaut for films Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi and Panga|
|Most awards|| Shabana Azmi |
|First winner||Nargis Dutt|
The National Film Award for Best Actress (officially known as the Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Actress) is an honour presented annually at the National Film Awards of India since 1968 to an actress for the best performance in a leading role within the Indian film industry.The National Film Awards were called the "State Awards for Films" when established in 1954. The State Awards instituted the "Best Actress" category in 1968 as the "Urvashi Award for the Best Actress"; in 1975, the "Urvashi Award" was renamed as the "Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Actress". Throughout the years, accounting for ties and repeat winners, the Government of India has presented a total of 55 Best Actress awards to 44 different actresses.
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 that amounted to ₹50,000 (US$700) in 2012. Although the Indian film industry produces films in more than 20 languages and dialects, the actresses whose performances have won awards have worked in ten major languages: Hindi (22 awards), Bengali (7 awards), Tamil (6 awards), Malayalam (6 awards), Telugu (4 awards), Kannada (3 awards), English (3 awards), Marathi (2 awards), Assamese (one award) and Urdu (one award).
The first recipient was Nargis Dutt from Bollywood, who was honoured at the 15th National Film Awards (1967) for her performance in Raat Aur Din .The actress who won the most Rajat Kamal awards is Shabana Azmi with five wins, followed by Sharada and Kangana Ranaut with three. As of 2020, four actresses—Smita Patil, Archana, Shobana, and Tabu who have won the award two times. Sharada, Archana and Shobana are the only three actresses to get the award for performing in two different languages. Sharada was bestowed with the awards for her performances in two Malayalam films: Thulabharam and Swayamvaram in 1968 and 1972 respectively, and in 1978 for the Telugu film Nimajjanam . Archana was first honoured in 1987 for the Tamil film Veedu and was awarded for the second time in 1988 for the Telugu film Daasi . Shobana received her first award for the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu in 1993, and her second for the English film Mitr, My Friend in 2001. As of 2019, the late Monisha Unni remains the youngest recipient of the honour; she was awarded for the Malayalam film Nakhakshathangal in 1986 when she was 16. Indrani Haldar and Rituparna Sengupta are the only two actresses to be honoured for the same film— Dahan . The most recent recipient is Kangana Ranaut, who will be honoured at the 67th National Film Awards for her performance in the 2019 Hindi period drama film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi and the 2020 Hindi sports drama film Panga .
|Year||Indicates the year in which the film was censored by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)|
|Indicates a joint award for that year|
|Indicates that the winner won the award for two performances in that year|
|Nargis Dutt||Varuna / Peggy||Raat Aur Din||Hindi|
|Madhabi Mukherjee||Supriya||Dibratrir Kabya||Bengali|
|Rehana Sultan||Salma Ahmed||Dastak||Hindi|
|Waheeda Rehman||Reshma||Reshma Aur Shera||Hindi|
|Sharmila Tagore||Chanda Thapa,|
|Lakshmi||Ganga||Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal||Tamil|
|Smita Patil||Urvashi / Usha||Bhumika||Hindi|
|Rekha||Amiran (Umrao Jaan)||Umrao Jaan||Urdu|
|Shabana Azmi||Pooja Inder Malhotra||Arth||Hindi|
|Sreelekha Mukherji||Lakkhi||Parshuramer Kuthar||Bengali|
|Shobana||Ganga / Nagavalli||Manichitrathazhu||Malayalam|
|Debashree Roy||Dr. Aditi Sen||Unishe April||Bengali|
|Seema Biswas||Phoolan Devi||Bandit Queen||Hindi|
|Rituparna Sengupta||Romita Chaudhury|
|Raveena Tandon||Durga Saikia||Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence||Hindi|
|Tabu||Mumtaz Ali Ansari||Chandni Bar||Hindi|
|Shobana||Lakshmi||Mitr, My Friend||English|
|Konkona Sen Sharma||Meenakshi S. Iyer||Mr. and Mrs. Iyer||English|
|Meera Jasmine||Shahina||Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam||Malayalam|
|Priyanka Chopra Jonas||Meghna Mathur||Fashion||Hindi|
|Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar||Shirmi||Baboo Band Baaja||Marathi|
|Saranya Ponvannan||Veerayi||Thenmerku Paruvakaatru||Tamil|
|Vidya Balan||Reshma (Silk)||The Dirty Picture||Hindi|
|Geetanjali Thapa||Kamala||Liar's Dice||Hindi|
|Kangana Ranaut||Rani Mehra||Queen||Hindi|
|Kangana Ranaut||Tanuja "Tanu" Trivedi,|
Kusum "Datto" Sangwan
|Tanu Weds Manu Returns||Hindi|
|Surabhi Lakshmi||Mother||Minnaminungu – the Firefly||Malayalam|
|Kangana Ranaut||Rani Lakshmi Bai||Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi||Hindi|
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The National Film Award for Best Actor, officially known as the Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Actor, is an honour presented annually at the National Film Awards of India instituted 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", certificate and a cash prize.
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