Smita Patil is arguably India’s premium actress who stands at par with legends like Nargis, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Vyjayanthimala and others. October 17 marks her birthday; Glamsham.Com remembers the great actress of Indian cinema and explores her journey in commercial cinema.
Daughter of Maharashtra’s eminent politician, Shivajirao Girdhar Patil, Smita was more inclined towards a career in cinema. After graduating from FTII ( Film and Television Institute of India) in Pune, she was introduced by the legendary film wizard Shyam Benegal under whom she excelled as an actress giving many path-breaking movies like MANTHAN, BHUMIKA, AAKROSH, CHAKRA, MIRCH MASALA etc. Before doing movie she was a Marathi news reader at Doordarshan.
Though she won National and Filmfare awards, she became a star only when she made her debut in a commercial film opposite superstar Amitabh Bachchan in SHAKTI and NAMAK HALAL. In fact while travelling in a plane she was first recognized when these two movies had released and complimented Amitabh Bachchan with utter joy that people recognize her!
However, her transition from parallel cinema to commercial cinema was not a cakewalk. There were many hurdles. When Ramesh Sippy first approached her for SHAKTI opposite Amitabh Bachchan, many people opposed him as they made odd chemistry according to trade pundits. Even Amitabh Bachchan was anxious as he was not confident whether she would match the temperament of the movie. But Bachchan was floored on day one when he did rehearsal with her.
In his blog Bachchan wrote, ”The first shot I did with Smita Patil in SHAKTI was the complex scene where I am in drunken state and laments how my father has two wives and he loves his other wife i.e. his duty more than my mother. I wanted to do the entire scene in one take as the emotions of the scene were so intense that I did not want to kill its tempo but my anxiety was my co-star’s reaction. Nevertheless, all my worries were over during rehearsals I found Smita to be an excellent actress and as planned the scene was shot in one take.”
Further, Smita Patil had a good chemistry with other superstar of Indian cinema, Rajesh Khanna too. The two did over six films together prominent being AAKHIR KYON? and AMRIT.
Though Smita Patil died at the young age of 31 due to complicated delivery at child birth, she shall always be remembered for generations to come.