Nana Palshikar

Nana Palshikar (Marathi: नाना पळशिकर) (1907 – 1 June 1984) was an Indian film actor who appeared in over 80 Hindi films. He made his film debut in 1935 with Dhuwandhar, and went on to play character roles in both Hindi mainstream and arthouse films. He was also cast in small parts in a few international productions such as Maya (1966), The Guru (1969) and Gandhi (1982). Palshikar was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor twice, in 1962 and 1965. He was recognised with an award in the same category by the Bengal Film Journalists' Association in 1965.

Nana Palshikar
Palshikar in Do Bigha Zameen (1954)
Born1907 (1907)
Died1 June 1984(1984-06-01) (aged 76–77)
OccupationFilm actor
Years active1935–1984


Palshikar made his first film appearance in 1935 along with Leela Chitnis in Sukumar Chatterjee's Dhurandhar. He appeared in two more films in this decade, Kangan and Durga (1939), both of which were produced at the Bombay Talkies production house and were the two final films directed by German director Franz Osten.[1]

After a long break of 14 years, between which he appeared only in one film Bahurani (1940), he returned to the screen in Bimal Roy's 1953 picture Do Bigha Zamin (Two Acres of Land), in which he played Dhangu Maheto, alongside actors such as Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy. The film was a major critical success and won several national and international honours.[2][3] He followed it with supporting roles in other successful films of this decade, such as V. Shantaram's Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Bimal Roy's Devdas, Raj Kapoor's Shree 420, Sombhu Mitra's Jagte Raho and Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anari.[4]

In 1960, Palshikar appeared in Kanoon, a courtroom drama involving a murder case. Directed by B. R. Chopra, the film saw Palshikar playing Kaalia, a petty thief who is caught and charged with murder for no fault of his own. Palshikar's performance earned him his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. In a retrospective review in 2009, The Hindu noted: "the star of the second half is Nana Palshikar, who slips into the role of a petty thief with a commanding performance."[5]

In 1963, Palshikar appeared in Khwaja Ahmad Abbas's Shehar Aur Sapna (The City and The Dreams). It is a social film which portrays the struggle of pavement dwellers in the backdrop of rapid industrialisation. The film, a love story that takes place in a drain pipe, received the President's Gold Medal Award and the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.[6] Palshikar's performance as Johnny earned him his second Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor, and he was acknowledged as Best Supporting Actor (Hindi) by the Bengal Film Journalists' Association.[7]

John Berry's Maya (1966) saw Palshikar playing Sajid Khan's father. In 1969, James Ivory cast him in the foreign co-production The Guru. Ivory said: "I didn't know a great deal about him when we cast him... He was said to be a very good actor, which I took on faith."[8] Judith Crist from the New York Magazine described his small part of "The Guru's Guru" in the film as "an unforgettable cameo".[9]

In the 1970s, Palshikar continued to portray father figures or authoritative characters such as judges. For instance, he played a father in many films such as B. R. Chopra's Dhund, based on Agatha Christie's play The Unexpected Guest in 1973 and Yaaron Ka Yaar in 1977. However, these roles were generally relatively minor and he was often uncredited for his performances, such as his role as a judge in Jwar Bhata in 1972.

He continued playing a father into the 1980s, appearing in Aakrosh (1980), playing Om Puri's dad. His last major film was in the epic film Gandhi in 1982, a Richard Attenborough directed biographical film based on the life of Mohandas Gandhi, who led the nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India during the first half of the 20th century. However, his role was very minor, playing a villager. His last ever appearance was shortly before his death in 1984 in the film Kanoon Kya Karega, again playing a parent.

He died on 1 June 1984 in Mumbai, aged 77.


  • 1962: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award - Kanoon
  • 1965: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award - Shehar Aur Sapna
  • 1965: BFJA Awards, Best Supporting Actor (Hindi) - Shehar Aur Sapna[7]



  1. "Franz Osten - Profile". IMDb. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  2. Kumar, Anuj (16 August 2008). "Do Bigha Zamin 1953". Metro Plus Bangalore. The Hindu. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  3. Raheja, Dinesh (9 May 2002). "Do Bigha Zamin: Poignant, stark, human". Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  4. "Box Office 1955". BoxOffice India. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  5. Lokapally, Vijay (4 September 2009). "Kanoon 1960". Metro Plus Bangalore. The Hindu. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  6. Kohli, Suresh (3 January 2009). "Anhonee 1952". Metro Plus Bangalore. The Hindu. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  7. "28th Annual BFJA Awards". BFJA. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  8. Long, Robert Emmet (2006). James Ivory in Conversation: How Merchant Ivory Makes Its Movies. University of California Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-520-24999-2.
  9. Crist, Judith (April 1969). "A Loss of Marbles". New York Magazine: 54.
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