Bollywood has had legends like Madhubala, Geeta Dutt, Meena Kumari, Sridevi and living legends like Hema Malini, Waheeda Rehman, Rekha and Shabana Azmi ( Smita’s co –star and partner in the parallel cinema movement), today on Smita’s 63rd birthday, her image comes alive, Smita Patil is undoubtedly special. She was an actress par excellence but beyond that a woman of substance.. which actress will cry after shooting a song sequence with Amitabh Bachchan…
Without any iota of doubt, just a glance of the news reader during the Doordarshan era with that poise, expression and eyes made Smita Patil a haunting beauty.
In a career spanning around ten years, Smita acted in 80 films mostly belonging to the parallel cinema revolution spearheaded by Shyam Benegal. An active feminist and a member of the Women's Centre in Mumbai, Smita donated the money she received from her first national award (BHUMIKA ) to charity. She also won the national award for CHAKRA and was the recipient of the Padma Shri, in 1985.
Smita Patil worked with eminent stars of those times, from Amitabh Bachchan to Rajesh Khanna to Shashi Kapoor to Mithun Chakraborty, but her heart beats where maximum for the more sensible cinemas like BAZAAR, ARTH, MANDI and so on.
Some years ago, when Prateik was taking baby steps in Bollywood, this author met the budding actor and found striking images of Smita Patil in his apartment. Just a mention of Smita made Parteik emotional and it must be remembered that when Smita passed away following complications after a child delivery, Prateik, was hardly fifteen days old but the women stayed in his son’s memory forever (just like the actress has stayed in the memory of her admirers), he said, “ I wish she was able to see me act on screen’ and gazed at her mother’s portraits hanging on the walls. I also gazed at well and said, “hope we would have been lucky enough to see Smita act on screen today”.
Happy Birthday to Smita Patil - the most haunting beauty of Indian cinema
She use to cry after giving shots of dancing in rains etc as she felt it was not the right thing to do but that exposure in commercial escapisms with mega star like Amitabh Bachchan got her more audience who increased her fan base when she did those sensible cinemas.
In those 10 years, Smita Patil has left a lasting impact on the audience, a loner who loved to read, was an observer and loved still photography.