He played a truant, gambling son in Krantiveer (1994), a wife beater in Agni Sakshi (1996), a deaf father to Manisha Koirala in Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) and a schizophrenic in Wajood (1998).
In the movie Ab Tak Chhappan (2005) he plays a police officer who is an encounter specialist .
Diksha (Initiation) is 1991 Hindi film directed by Arun Kaul and his only feature. It was awarded the 1992 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and 1992 Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie.
The film is based on a novella by eminent Kannada writer U. The film participated in International Film Festival of India, 1993, and won several international awards including Annonay International Film Festival Award, France, 1992; Prix Du Public (Audience Awards); and Best Feature Film in Hindi by Madhya Pradesh Development Corporation, 1992.
Placed in the early 1930s, Diksha is the story of a guru and his widowed daughter, the head disciple and the novice; the lowly-born 'Koga' who dreams of learning the intricacy of scriptures.
In a weaker moment during the long absence of her father, the young widow falls to the temptation of the flesh.
The lover is not ready to accept the responsibility. In the ensuing commotion the father is called back. He pronounces her dead and performs her 'Ghata-Shraddha' (a ritual where an immoral person is ex-communicated, pronounced dead and her last rites performed when the accused is still alive, thus depriving her of all worldly relations).
While the Brahmin society praises the guru, individuals revolt.The head disciple leaves the town; the child-novice goes back to his parents; and the Koga refuses the 'heaven' and 'salvation'.In September 2015, Nana Patekar established an organisation, Naam Foundation, with fellow Marathi actor Makarand Anaspure, which works to provide aid to farmers to overcome by drought conditions in Maharashtra, India. He has played the occasional villain but been a hero in most of his films.He acted in movies such as Gaman (1978), notable role in Sujata Mehta-led Pratighaat (1987), Mohre (1987) and Salaam Bombay!(1988) and was noticed by the mainstream Bollywood industry for his portrayal of the villain in the 1989 film, Parinda, for which he won his first National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.He was also awarded the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for the role.