Sridevi's success story continued with hits like Subhash Ghai directed Karma and K. Bhagyaraj's Aakhree Raasta, both released in 1986. The success of the snake fantasy film Nagina in 1986 established Sridevi's reputation as a leading star. The film's snake dance in the climax also showcased her dancing skills under the guidance of choreographer Saroj Khan who went on to deliver many more hit dance numbers with the actress. The next year Sridevi starred in the all-time blockbuster Mr. India with Anil Kapoor. The dance number 'Hawa Hawai' gave her an eponymous nickname.
In 1989 she portrayed twin sisters in ChaalBaaz and won her the first Hindi Filmfare Best Actress Award. The same year her she also played the title role in Yash Chopra's Chandni.
Yash Chopra again cast her in his inter-generational romance Lamhe released in 1991. Despite failing at the box office, the film went on to become a modern cult classic and one of the biggest hits in the overseas territory. While the film won the Filmfare Best Film Award, Sridevi's intense performance as mother and daughter won her the second Filmfare Best Actress Award and much international acclaim.