Smita Patil was an Indian film, television, and theatre actress. She was considered as the best Indian actress of her era. She worked in Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, and Bengali films.
Smita Patil was born on 17 October 1955 (age 31 years at the time of her death) in Pune. She was educated at Renuka Swaroop Memorial high school in Pune. Patil was a graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. She was very enthusiastic about the theatre during her school days. She used to take part in every school program. Before venturing into films, Smita worked as a television newsreader on Mumbai Doordarshan.
Family, Caste & Husband
Smita was born into a Marathi Hindu Family. Her father, Shivajirao Girdhar Patil, was a politician, and mother, Vidyatai Patil, was a social worker. She had two sisters, Manya Patil Seth, a producer and Anita Deshmukh, a school teacher.
She was a cousin to actress Aboli Patil and aunt to actress Vidya Malvade.
Patil was engaged to Dr. Sunil Bhutani in the late 70s but their affair did not end up into marriage. Later, she was rumoured to be in a close relationship with Vinod Khanna. Smita was also speculated to be involved with the producer Johnny Bakshi.
Smita got married to the popular Bollywood actor, Raj Babbar.
Prateik Babbar, the Bollywood actor, is her son.
Smita marked her film debut with Shyam Benegal’s “Charandas Chor” in 1975. She made her acting debut in the Bollywood industry with the film “Mere Saath Chal” in 1974. She was a well-known face in the industry for her most renowned roles were in the films “Manthan” (1977), “Bhumika” (1977), “Aakrosh” (1980), “Chakra” (1981), “Chidambaram” (1985), and “Mirch Masala” (1985). She has also acted in the films like “Shakti,” and “Namak Halaal” which are still cherished.
She made an appearance in “Aakhir Kyon” in 1985, opposite Rajesh Khanna, and “Mirch Masala” in 1987 starring Naseeruddin Shah.
Smita tragically passed away on 13 December 1986, barely 2 weeks after giving birth to her son, Prateek Babbar, as a result of childbirth complications
- National Film Award for Best Actress for the film “Bhumika” (1977)
- National Film Award for Best Actress for the film “Chakra” (1980)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the film “Chakra” (1982)
- Padma Shri Award for her contribution to the Indian Cinema (1985)
- Smita was an active feminist. She favoured working in women-oriented films and took up issues that were related to women empowerment.
- Not just an active feminist, but she was also a member of the Women’s Centre in Mumbai.
- According to her sister, Manya Patil, Smita was a loner in life. She lived in guilt as she felt that getting in a relationship with a married man was not correct.
- In a career spanned just over a decade, Smita acted in over 80 Hindi and Marathi films.
- Smita, who was often involved in charity work donated her first National Award prize money for a noble cause.
- Raj Babbar left his first wife Nadira Babbar to marry Smita and after she tied the knot with Raj Babbar, she faced severe criticism from the fans and media. Patil was referred to as the “home-breaker” by some of the feminist organisations that she had worked for.
- About two decades after her death, Mrinal Sen, a popular film director, alleged that Smita died due to medical negligence.
- Smita also had a baby brother who passed away when he was a year old.
- In 2011, she was listed as the second greatest actress of all time by the popular news portal, Rediff.
- In 2012, the Smita Patil International Film Festival Documentaries and Shorts was initiated in her honour.