Smita Patil

  • Actor

Oct 17, 1955  in Pune, Maharashtra, India

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Smita Patil was widely regarded as one of the best actresses of her generation and was equally at ease in mainstream commercial Bollywood films as well as the parallel cinema movement of the 1970s and 80s. Her untimely death at the age of 31 years left the whole industry in a shock.

Early Life
Smita was born on 17th October 1955 in Pune in Maharashtra. She was the daughter of politician Shivajirao Girdhar Patil and social worker mother Vidyatai Patil. She completed her education at the Renuka Swaroop Memorial School in Pune.

Smita was a popular face on Indian television as a news broadcaster for Mumbai Doordarshan before she made her name as an actress in the movies.

Personal Life
Smita was an active feminist. She was a member of the Women`s Centre in Mumbai. She had always been deeply committed to the cause of women empowerment.

She courted controversy when after becoming romantically involved with the actor Raj Babbar. He left his wife to marry her. They have a child named Prateik Babbar from their marriage. She died due to childbirth complications on 13th December 1986, just two weeks after delivering Prateik.

Movie Career
Smita debuted as an actress with a supporting role in Mere Saath Chal (1974). Her first major film was Shyam Benegal`s Charandas Chor (1975). But it is the film Nishaant (1975) that first got her acclaim. She came to be recognized as an actress with substance and went on to act in films from the parallel cinema movement of the 1970s. She played a feisty village woman in Manthan (1976), and a gullible young girl lured into the big bad world of movies in Bhumika (1977), which won Smita her first National Award. Her authentic portrayal of a slum dweller in Chakra (1981) also earned her a National Award. Aakrosh (1980), Arth (1982), Ardha Satya (1983) were her other notable performances from the parallel cinema movement.

Smita, however, was equally at ease in mainstream commercial films like Shakti (1982) and Namak Halal (1982). She also appeared in various Marathi films like Samna (1974), Jait Re Jait (1977) and Umbartha (1982). The Ketan Mehta directed Hindi film Mirch Masala (1987), which was also one of her last performances, is widely regarded as her best.