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7 Most Popular National Film Award Winning Choreographers in India

Posted by Anjali Nainwal in Culture-Vulture
October 19, 2017

These people are the stalwarts of Indian cinema and television, who due to their hard work changed the shape of dance in this country, taking it from classical folk to dance forms like jazz, salsa, ballroom, etc, and through other newer discoveries and experiments in dance.

Though the biggest award for them is the audiences’ reaction and love, for their immense contribution to Indian cinema and television industry, they really deserve appreciation. So, in 1991, the National Film Awards instituted the National Film Award for Best Choreography.

The award was presented for the first time at the 40th National Film awards in 1993. Since then, the National Film Award for Best Choreography has been presented annually for the films produced across the country in every Indian language.

Here is the list of 7 best choreographers in India who have won this prestigious award in India a couple of times:

1. Laxmibai Kolhapurkar

The first National Film Award for Best Choreography of 1992 went to Laxmibai Kolhapurkar for choreographing a song from Marathi Film “Ek Hota Vidushak”. Incidentally, she became the first woman choreographer to win this National Award in India.

2. Jay Borade

Jay Borade became the first choreographer to win the National Award for the Hindi movie “Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!”.   The choreographer who left this world in November 2014 at the age of 77 played a great role in making Sooraj Barjatya’s movie an all-time hit in India. He also choreographed films like “Maine Pyaar Kiya”, “Hum Saath-Saath Hai”, “Baaghi” and many other movies.  And all these movies went on to become all-time big hits of the Indian film industry.

3. Prabhu Deva

Prabhu Deva who is often called the father of contemporary dance forms in India has won the National Film Award for Best Choreography two times. The first time it was in 1996 for Tamil Movie “Minsara Kanavu” and in 2004 for choreographing the song “Main Aisa Kyun Hoon” in the Hindi Movie “Lakshya”.

4. Saroj Khan

Saroj Khan is one of the most popular choreographers in India who has won the National Film Award for Best Choreography three times so far in her career. She has so far choreographed about 2000 songs.

5. Ganesh Acharya

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

And when it comes to the best choreographers in India, who can forget the name of Ganesh Acharya. He is a household name in India as far as dance is concerned. He may have won the National Film Award only one time in his choreography career but he is undoubtedly one of the most loved choreographers in India. He won his award for the song “Maston Ka Jhund” in “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”’ for the year 2013. And he was once again nominated for this award in 2015 for his work in the song “Malhaari” from the film “Bajirao Mastani” but that year the award went to a song from the same film choreographed by a dance legend of India Remo D’Souza. The song was “Deewani Mastani”.

6. Remo D’Souza

Remo D’Souza is one of the most popular choreographers in India. Though his main job is choreography, he has occasionally acted and directed movies as well. In addition to contributing to Hindi cinema, he has choreographed songs for films in the Bengali language. In addition, he has judged many dance shows in India including “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa” with Madhuri Dixit and Karan Johar.

7. Farah Khan

The National Film Award for Best Choreography winner Farah Khan is popular for choreographing songs in many Bollywood movies. She has so far choreographed a hundred songs in over 80 Bollywood movies. She won the National Film Award for Best Choreography for the first time in 2003 for her work in the song “Idhar Chala Main Udhar Chala” from the movie ‘Koi… Mil Gaya’.


The best choreographers in India have turned dance into a means of communication filled with all types of ideas and emotions. The best choreographers in India design songs in such a way that the dance move an artist performs tells the audience a story. Dance has become a medium of socialisation and interaction rather than a mere entertainment source and in maximum cases, the best choreographers in India tell stories to the audience through dancers.