Shahrukh Khan and Filmfare Best Actor Awards

It’s common knowledge now that Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan is tied with the legendary Dilip Kumar for the highest number of Filmfare Best Actor wins with 8 awards each. What a few sections of the general public debate about, is if SRK really deserved all those 8 awards. In this piece, I will discuss each of those 8 wins of Shahrukh and analyse what made him win those awards, look at the competition for that particular year and if he really deserved to win it. As is obvious, it is an opinion piece, respect the opinions and if you have any qualms about anything feel free to let your opinion be known in a civilized manner.

A few things to keep in mind are that when SRK arrived the Bollywood was ruled by the earlier generation (Sunny Deol/Sanjay Dutt/Anil Kapoor/Jackie Shroff) and they were not breaking any new ground. Salman and Aamir were there too, but with the arrival of SRK in Bollywood the stakes increased, freshness was attained yet again and other actors stepped up their game – most were slow, though. At the turn of the new millenium, the competition became really ardous and it would not have been a cake walk (not that it ever was) for anyone to win the Best Actor award from thereoin (with the exception of a few years).

Also, Filmfare has almost always awarded the actors and actresses who received widespream critical AND commercial acclaim for their performances. That is why, only critical acclaim was never enough to win the Filmfare Best Actor award. Sometimes though, the great performance of an actor’s film translated into him winning the Best Actor award by default. Now that I have dissected the award giving mechanism and the thought behind it, let’s dig into analysing SRK’s 8 Filmfare Best Actor awards.

Shahrukh Khan Filmfare Awards

Shahrukh Khan Filmfare Awards

1st Filmfare Best Actor Award: Baazigar (1993)

SRK won his first Filmfare award for a negative character in this cult Abbas-Mustan thriller. His performance received widespread acclaim and he became a household name soon after. The only credible competition that year came from Sanjay Dutt (he also played a negative character in Khalnayak) and Jackie Shroff (Gardish). A lot of people would say  SRK did not deserve this award ahead of Sanjay Dutt, but what made him win it was Sanjay Dutt’s supposed involvement in the Bombay Blasts and the negative publicity that he received. Khalnayak and Baazigar were both big hits, and it might have been a toss-off in the end. Either way, SRK was established as a star after Baazigar.

2nd Filmfare Best Actor Award: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Even Shahrukh’s most ardent haters will reluctantly agree that there was no way SRK was not going to win the Filmfare Best Actor for delivering one of the biggest hits and one of the most memorable and talked about performances of Hindi cinema. The only real contender that year was Aamir Khan for Rangeela. But, no one could have taken the award away from SRK that year. DDLJ transformed SRK into a Superstar.

3rd Filmfare Best Actor Award: Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)

SRK won his third Filmfare best actor for this movie. If ever he got lucky, it was this year. Looking back, it’s evident that the performances of Anil Kapoor in Virasat and of Kamal Hassaan in Chachia 420 were better. But the jury then did not have the advantage of hindsight. Simply put, they awarded SRK for being part of one of the biggest hits of the year. Also, the charm of this film may have faded away a bit now but at that time, the music of the film and the film itself became quite a rage.

4th Filmfare Best Actor Award: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Another no-brainer like DDLJ. Another all-time blockbuster like DDLJ. Not only did this film redefine friendship in Hindi cinema, but also gave SRK a new identity. The only real contender that year was Aamir Khan for Ghulam and Ajay Devgn for Zakhm. But yet again, they did not have the commercial recognition behind them for both their films and their performances.

5th Filmfare Best Actor Award: Devdas (2002)

2002 was a particularly bad year for Hindi cinema when you know that Bobby Deol and Vivek Oberoi were nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award that year. SRK won his 5th Filmfare after a rather barren patch of 3 years. His performance as Devdas Mukherjee received critical and commercial acclaim. Time Magazine listed the movie as one of the Top 10 movies of the new millenium. Ajay Devgn (The Legend Of Bhagat Singh) gave him tough competition and eventually walked away with only the Critics’ award for lack of commercial appeal.

6th Filmfare Best Actor Award: Swades (2004)

2004 was well and truly Shahrukh Khan’s year. He had 3 of the 5 nominations. Veer Zaara and Main Hoon Na were much bigger hits but SRK won his 6th Filmfare Best Actor Award for the commercial failure Swades. It was bold (but not wrong) on their part to give it to SRK for Swades since he would otherwise have received the award for either Veer Zaara or Main Hoon Na. Swades, in my opinion, was SRK’s best ever acting performance and it is a pity that he did not win the National Award that year.

7th Filmfare Best Actor Award: Chak De! India (2007)

Unlike Swades, which was a commercial failure, Chak De India became a Super Hit and SRK’s brilliant performance as the Indian Hockey Team coach Kabir Khan got due recognition from the audience (alongwith the critics). He won over his detractors with this film. The contenders that year were Abhishek Bachchan for Guru and Darsheel Safary for Taare Zameen Par (Darsheel won the Critics’ Award eventually). Abhishek was very unlucky that his best acting performance came in the year of Chak De! India and Taare Zameen Par.

8th Filmfare Best Actor Award: My Name Is Khan (2010)

SRK’s latest Filmfare Award came for his International Blockbuster My Name Is Khan. The competition that year was the toughest yet. Ajay Devgn for Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, Ranbir Kapoor for Raajneeti, Hrithik Roshan for Guzaarish and Salman Khan for the mega Hit Dabangg 2 gave credible and lauded performances. Hrithik lost out due the commercial failure of his film. Ajay Devgn lost out for the genre of the film he was a part of, since action dramas are looked down upon these days. Ranbir Kapoor lost out because he was a part of a highly talented ensemble cast and it would’ve been wrong to just award him and not the others. Salman Khan gave one of his best and most appreciated performances ever as the boisterous and funny cop Chulbul Pandey. It came down to awarding either Salman Khan or SRK. But the jury chose SRK because his was the most appreciated performance of the year (even though the film’s domestic performance was not record-breaking). SRK played a mentally disabled person and the biggest thing that went in it’s favour was that he did not make Rizwan Khan look like a caricature. That’s where his victory lay. Salman, as Chulbul Pandey, according to most people was just being himself (that is what worked, hey!) but SRK was more or less sure to take away the award. (I personally would have given it to Hrithik).

This was a piece about dissecting and trying to understand what went behind awarding Shahrukh those 8 Filmfare Best Actor awards. I think it’s very clear for me by the end of this piece that he deserved at least 6 of the 8 awards he received looking at the success of those films, the competition he had that year and the general sentiment among the public at that time. He did not win any Best Actor award for Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Kal Ho Na Ho, Mohabbatein, Don, Dil Se and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which were some of his other appreciated performances. On any other day, he could have won awards for these performances as well. But he did not. So, 8 awards are more or less indicative of the dominance of his films and his performances in the last 20 odd years.

The criteria for awarding the Best actor award goes in the following order (looking at the awarding patterns tells me this):

  • Commercial AND Critical appreciation of the performance.
  • Commercial appreciation and success of the film(s). Only critical acclaim has never been enough to win the Filmfare Best Actor award. Sometimes though, the great performance of an actor’s film translated into him winning the Best Actor award by default.
  • The competition between performances for that particular year.
  • Critical appreciation of the film.
  • The type of character the actor is playing. Actors who play characters with mental or physical disability tend to have better chances. For example, 3 of the 4 award winning performances of the last year were won by actors playing these sort of roles – Amitabh Bachchan for Paa, SRK for MNIK and Ranbir Kapoor for Barfi.
  • The genre of the film. Action movies or comedies are generally looked down up whereas dramas (be it romantic dramas or family dramas) get more acclaim.

In the early 90s, not many performances fulfilled the first criteria of being commercial appreciated and hence, the competition was much less. With the passage of time our films have evolved and our actors are giving better performances with each film. Hence, the competition SRK received for MNIK was way more than what he received for Baazigar. That is also probably why he did not win the award this year for Jab Tak Hai Jaan as Ranbir Kapoor’s performance was unanimously praised by both critics and general audiences. Henceforth, if Shahrukh is to win another award he has to be a part of a commercially successful film and his performance in that film has to be loved and praised by critics and audiences alike.

P.S. SRK’s haters will very obviously believe that he deserved none of the 8 awards he got. Hate subsides with bias and goes against logic, much like love. This piece is an opinion piece and respect the author’s opinion while commenting. You are free to put up your own opinions but only in a civilized and abuse free manner.

Zayden tweets @ManvsHandle



  • He deserved all awards except DTPH. But again he lost many which he deserves more especially Mohabbatein, Rab Ne, Don, Don 2 etc. ab haters to kuch bhi bolenge. After 20 years from now every one will accept the truth. He is the true sign of actor cum superstar. And ajay devgan got national award because of Prakash Jha’s influence in national awards jury panel.

  • Confession time here people- whilst Growing up in the 90’s I watched SRK movies over and over again. I loved Darr, DDLJ and Baazigar and I neglected many other movies until I was old enough to watch them later on on disc formats.
    For me still DDLJ, Baazigar, DTPH and KKHH had awesome performances by SRK. Aamirs act in Rangeela in 1995 was good but as the author said DDLJ had both commercial and critical acclaim so would have been tough to overlook SRK that year.
    At a stretch I would credit SRK with 5 of his 8 wins with grace but I feel in the last decade he got way too many awards for abject work.
    FilmFake jury are helped in a strange way by both Ajay and Aamir, because they can now be overlooked bacause of their self imposed exiles. This has led to SRK winning 8 and equalling the legendary Dilip Kumar. Really hope that day never comes when SRK wins a 9th award because that really would be a sad day. :-(

  • For Salman fans SRK did not deserve the award for DDLJ but Salman deserved the award even for Hello Brother.Such is the level of hatred for SRK.But the love and blessings of billion SRK’s fan will always protect him.Wonderful article and Indicine is simply the best.Keep it up.

  • SRK’s performance in DDLJ was much better than Rangela.. SRK was at his energetic and romantic best!

    Someone is saying something negative on SRK’s performance in MNIK, which is ridiculous and shows their jealous… SRK’s performance in MNIK is one of the best performance in Hindi Cinema..

    You should also remember that Saif Ali Khan won a national award for HUM TUM .. it clearly shows the importance of national awards and how genuine it is..

  • you people saying SRK did not deserve those awards and others have won national award & not Filmfare coz of Srk. But what about the National winning performences by SRK that went to others, can’t u all get that.

    Here are some of them:
    3.Chak de India

    So stop criticizing him.

  • @anil uperker…. how can u say “ajay devgan got national award because of Prakash Jha’s influence in national awards jury panel”…. ??…. watch “zakhm” and “the legend of bhagat singh” again….. every expression of ajay devgan was perfect….. i think u don’t lyk him only if he is not as good-looking nd as charming as srk….. but look the character, he always gives it all nd plays at ease…..

  • @vipin Aamir in Rangeela was at his energetic best and was really endearing to the audience. 1995 was a tough year- but DDLJ had the edge because it simply was a bigger hit so had more exposure for SRK. But Nana won the award the year earlier for Krantiveer when Salman had maximum exposure in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun so there really is no logic to FilmFake Awards.

  • I just loved your analysis. It makes perfect sense. Also, this article explains everything as in some years when we feel that he was not deserving yet won but some years we felt that he was truly desrving and SRK did not win – so that can happen. Also, SRK is the most consistent BW actor in 20 years – who has been most hard working and provided entertainment and received love and respect from millions around the globe. when i visit other countries – even in a small cities many knows only SRK – which says a lot.

    Also, SRK is entertaining us in the award shows and he is the most sporty person – as many years he did not receive any awards yet he has made many happy. I watch majority of the award shows becasuse of him – as some of the other actors do not match SRK’s ability, energy, wit and charisma!

    Thank you for taking a time out for such a wonderful analysis!!!!! KING KHAN rocks.

  • I personally think that filmfare has been really unfair to aamir khan. Nd if u say a film needs to be commercially gud, why hasn’t Salman won any recently, I mean 5 back to back blockbusters is seriously impressive. His Dabangg performance was critically acclaimed too.

  • ha ha ha… hrithik deserved for Guzaarish then I believe Abhishek Bachchan deserved for players this year… Rajpal yadav for chup chup ke, shakti kapoor in andaz apna apna, ajay devgan in tezz….etc

  • if dats d case then Aamir khan should have been awarded for 3 idiots (critical and biggest hit like DDLJ) ?
    RDB (critical and super hit)

    stop giving these child like excuses we all know srk and filmfare connection

  • haha nice to see so much hatred for the king. a selfmade man who lost his parents beats everyone and becomes the king.and still so much hatred ? dont worry . he has blessings of 3 billion ppl with him.

    i think he shud have won for don,rnbdj ,khnh. so that takes it to 11.

    luv u srk , always.

  • Best actors (only superstars) of Hindi cinema.. According to me :

    1. Amitabh Bachchan : showed his versatality with films like Black and Paa. Unmatched performances in Deewar, Zanjeer, Sholay etc

    2.Shahrukh Khan: Easily the most versatile actor of Indian Cinema. Anyone will be blown away by seeing RNBDJ and then Don 2, Swades, Devdas. One of the best actors in the world along with Big B.

    3. Dilip Kumar: Unmatched in serious roles. Less versatile.

    4. Rajesh Khanna: Again a master of dramatic roles but lacks versatility.

    5. Aamir Khan: Has an edge over hrithik due to Lagaan and Ghajini. Versatile.

    6. Hrithik Roshan: Easily the best actor in india (30s generation). Watch Guzaarish, no need to say anything else.

    7. Ajay Devgan: Best in serious roles, lacks versatality. Bhagat Singh, Zakhm, Gangajal his best work.

    8. Ranbir Kapoor: At No 8 only due to Barfi. Undoubtedly a fine actor.

    9. Sunny Deol: Intense roles are his strength.

    10. Anil Kapoor: Finest actor in the 80s after Big B, Dilip Kumar.

    Note: This list includes actors who are or were superstars only

  • @rowdy rathore, you ate a clown and should apologise to the 500 million people you have offended. The SRK fanclub worldwide now stands at 3.5 billion people and not 3 billion. You fool, the mark of 3 billion was crossed in 2004 and you call yourself a fan of SRK the Global Superstar. Tut tut tut Hang your head in shame my SRKian friend. :-P

  • @rowdy rathore You should ask Big B, Kamal Hassan, Aamir Khan to name afew as to whom they consider to be the greatest actor of all time. Aamir fans, Salman fans, well most fans too accept that Dilip Kumar is, was and will always remain the greatest of them all. How can you put SRK ahead of Dilip Kumar is beyond me. Dilip Kumars story is the real rags to riches story- the man Left his family behind to make his name in Bombay. Read into the subject if you have afew mins spare please. A real inspirational story of humble beginnings and good fortune.

  • Indians are too stupid and oversentimental….Better fils and better actors have been deprived of awards just to protect SRK. One can always wonder on the criteria for awards. Award functions are shows organised to mint money. SRK is a steereotyped actor who has only one style of acting. Other actors have proved they are better by doing different types of roles and were more deserving, but you know how things are in India…money and influence talk. This article appears to come from a stupid chamcha of SRK.

  • LMAO @rowdyRathore srk ahead of Dilip saab, nasser saab, Kamal Hassan & Aamir. haha

    my list of greatest Indian actors:

    1. Dilip Kumar
    2. Naseeruddin Shah
    3. Kamal Hassan
    4. Amitabh Bachchan
    5. Sanjeev Kumar
    6. Aamir Khan
    7. Raj Kapoor
    8. Ranbir Kapoor
    9. Hrithik Roshan
    10. Nana Patekar

  • Filmfare has not been consistent in their criteria. But still Aamir Khan banning awards just because he didn’t get one, is a case of sour grapes.

    I don’t think he deserved an award for JJWS. It was a very routine performance. The award that year should have gone to Amitabh Bachchan for scintillating performance in Khuda Gawah.

    Till 80s Filmfare used to give award on basis of merit. They made blunders only from 90s. In 1997, award should have gone to Anil Kapoor for Virasat or Kamal Haasan for Chachi 420. In 1998, no one else deserved it except Ajay Devgn in Zakhm. Just giving hits is no criteria to get an acting award. In 2000, it should have been Kamal Haasan for Hey Ram than Hrithik for KNPH.

    Aamir fans complain, but do you think he deserved award for Raja Hindustani? One of his worst performances ever? And why didn’t Aamir complain when in 1988, Filmfare invented Best Male Debut category just to please him? You’re happy till rules are bent to favour you, but sulk if someone else gets a favour?

    In 2002, Ajay Devgan deserved it for either Company or The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Devdas might have been successful but Ajay’s performance was fabulous compared to SRK’s.

    I think Filmfare has had problem of not balancing between actors and remaining confined to Khans, Hrithik and Bachchan. Someone like Ajay or Sunny can’t hope to get an award even if he is good.

    Commercial success should never be criteria at all. It’s acting and excellence in cinema. What do ticket sales have to do with it?

    Back to SRK, I think 2010 was fair because he was good in MNIK. Only other competition was Hrithik in Guzaarish.

    He didn’t deserve the 1993 award and it rightfully belonged to Sanjay Dutt but the author is right that Sanju was probably ignored due to his court cases.

  • @ Zayden forget to mention SRK’s other FF trophies. Best Debut for Deewana (1992), Best Actor Critics’ for Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1993) the same year in which he also won Best Actor for Baazigar, Best Actor in a Villianous Role for Anjaam (1994), Best Actor Critics for Mohabbatein (2000). That would show his complete range as an actor. Also, for 2008 he deserved the best actor trophy for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi more than Hrithik for Jodha Akbar. His twin performance in RNBDJ was simply outstanding when compared to Hrithik’s measured take. Also, Jodha Akbar was much a lesser success than SRK’s RNBDJ !!!

  • @sanjay and all Indian moviegoers. Please in future bear in mind that our great industry is infact 100 years old and not 10 or 20 years old. I love Dilip sahbs acting as much as the next person but I would also say that Ashok Kumar was just as talented and if not versatile. Big B, Raj Kapoor and Dilip have all praised Ashok ji as being the most versatile actor India ever produced. Its just a shame we have not got as much footage of his greatest works because Indian TV channels neglect to rerun the movies that are available. Ashik ji deserves a place in the top 5 at the very least.
    For the time being Please restrain yourselves and do not put young Ranbir in any top 10 list when you neglect the work of his elders like Shashi Kapoor or father Rishi Kapoor. He would admit its just current hysteria surrounding him and he has much more to learn to reach those heights.
    Come on guys lets learn about our history and produce an objective, well thought out and worthwhile list rather than a modern day easy to compile top 10 list. Research people is the key to success.

  • @sanjay Sorry dude I was having a pop at you because I like the make up of your top 5 quite alot now as I think more about it. Very brave of you to have Naseeruddin Shah in there at 2 but what do I know. Filmfare awards when they were more impartial awarded him with 3 Best Actor awards and all were deserving so kudos to the man.
    I was having a go at that chamcha of SRK rowdy rathore and todays youth. People do not see that life existed before they were born or before their star entered the industry!!! Im a big Aamir fan but I would find it difficult to put Aamir in a top 10 list because my heart would feel horrible to neglect yesteryear pathbreakers like Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Amjad Khan, Dev Anand, Sanjeev Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Guru Dutt, Ashok Kumar or Dilip Kumar. Even modern day contemporaries like Naseeruddin Shah, Kamal Hassan, Anil Kapoor, Amjad Khan, Sunny Deol, Hrithik, Salman, SRK or Big B. (still delivering stellar performances)
    A top 10 list should be HARD work and not plain sailing easy easy.

  • To the author, try to be consistent in your reasoning.

    If you don’t know what is that, read what you have written – a 100 times, and then you will realise what consistency I am talking about.

    With your inconsistent justification filmfare awards has lost more credibility.

  • If the rest actors have been as good as Shah Rukh Khan, the world’s leading film industries would had seen that. In Europe and USA we know Bollywood because of the magic of Shah Rukh Khan’s performances in movies like Dil See, Veer Zaara, Kal Ho Naa Ho etc. Such a shame he didn’t receive the best actor for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. He wasn’t just good in that movie, he was very good indeed!

  • I like Shah Rukh Khan. He is the best king in the world. There is no one else like him. This is the most wonderful man on Earth. Shah Rukh Khan is the best because it gives a great performance in Hindi films as always and he does not use tricks it just works! After Shah Rukh Khan is the best actor Hrithik Roshan.This is followed by Aamir Khan. A Salman Khan did not become an actor. I admire this man. Shah Rukh Khan is very responsible and hardworking man super super wonderful father and husband and unsurpassed actor.

  • with all honesty i would like to say that i feel that this is a biased article.. it tries to defend srk at every single point n suggest that srk deserved all the 8 awards.. this article also tries to suggest that srk should have won more 6 awards.. well what more could i say!

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