For a span of over 50 years, Durga Khote has been one of the most outstanding personalities of Indian Cinema, her unique career covering direction, production and acting. She was the recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award for 1983 in the year 1984.
Her illustrious career commenced with the silent movies, Farebi Jaal, in 1931, just before the talkie was emerging. Her first talkie was the bi-lingual (Hindi & Marathi) Ayodhyecha Raja which was produced in 1932. Her career covers abroad spectrum of film making as she moved up from her first silent film to be recognised as one of the greatest actresses of her time. With the studio system in vogue, she worked with Prabhat Film Co. Poona, New Theatres and East India (both at Calcutta), Prakash Pictures and was one of the first women, from a respectable middle class family, to break through social barriers by entering films.
As early as 1937, she produced and directed the feature film Saathi one of the first women to do so. She has acted in over 200 films in her career of 50 years plus.
She diversified into short films, Ad films and documentaries, running her own company, with a great deal of success, for over 25 years. Her company continuous to produce these shorts, now headed by her daughter Tine Knot.
Though she hit the spot lights with Prabhat Film Co.'s Amar Jyoti, one of her most powerful characterisation was in the title role, in Sita which was produced by East India Film Co. at Calcutta. The film was directed by the renowned Debaki Kumar Bose, and she had Prithviraj Kapoor as her co-star.
In later life, she graduated to character roles, and remained active till the age of 80. She was the chairperson of the 30th National Film Festival, Jury for short films in 1993. She received National Sangeet Academy Award and was honoured with Padmashree. State Award for Dhartichi Lekre (1970). BFJA Award for best performance in Charnon Ki Dasi (1941), and Bharat Milap (1942), and Filmfare Award for best supporting actress in Bedai (1974).