The Cocktail actress was given the honour by the prestigious Priyadarshini Academy.
She told the Hindustan Times: "The fact that I have got this award at an early phase of my career makes me feel happy and it makes me feel that I must be doing the right kind of work.
"It gives me confidence to do the kind of films I want to do and believe in roles that excite me. I will continue working hard.
"Every actor dreams of an award. When you do a shot in front of the camera, it is not on your mind. You are not working to win awards.
"But at the end of the day, when you finish a film and have put in all the hard work, you wish for an award and if a national award comes my way, then it is definitely a good thing."
Padukone's ex-boyfriend and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani co-star Ranbir Kapoor recently praised her acting.
She will next be seen starring opposite Ranveer Singh in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's contemporary update of Romeo and Juliet, titled Ram Leela.
Watch the trailer for Cocktail below: