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Smita Patil - The Legend
Monday, December 13, 2010 AT 12:46 PM (IST)
Smita Patil born on 17 October 1955 was a leading Indian actress from the 1970s to the 1980s in both Hindi and Marathi cinema.

Along with actress and co-star Shabana Azmi, Smita represented India's parallel cinema. Her performances were often acclaimed, and she was mostly noted for her work in films as Manthan (1977), Bhumika (1977), Aakrosh (1980) and Chakra (1981).

Patil was also an active feminist (in a distinctly Indian context) and a member of the Women's Centre in Mumbai. She was deeply committed to the advancement of women's issues, and gave her endorsement to films which sought to explore the role of women in traditional Indian society, their sexuality, and the changes facing the middle-class woman in an urban milieu.

Smita Patil was born in Pune, Maratha Patil family India to a Maharashtrian politician, Shivajirao Patil and social worker mother, from Shirpur town (Village-Bhatpure) of Khandesh province of Maharashtra State. She studied at a Marathi-language school.

Her first tryst with the camera was as a television newscaster for Doordarshan Pune, the Indian government owned television.

When Patil became romantically involved with the actor Raj Babbar, Patil drew severe criticism from her fans and the media, clouding her personal life and throwing her into the eye of a media storm. Raj Babbar left his wife, Nadira Babbar to marry Patil.

Overnight, Patil was labeled a "home-breaker" by the very Feminist organizations she had worked so assiduously for, and became the target of barbed criticism.


Smita Patil belongs to a generation of actresses, including Shabana Azmi and, like her, is strongly associated with the radically political cinema of the 1970s. Her work includes films with parallel cinema directors like Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani and Mrinal Sen as well as forays into the more commercial Hindi Film Industry cinema of Mumbai. Patil was working as a TV news reader and was also an accomplished photographer when Shyam Benegal discovered her. Smita Patil as aged Usha in Bhumika.

She was an alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. In 1977, she won the National Award for 'Best Actress' for her performance in the Hindi film Bhumika. In her films, Patil's character often represents an intelligent femininity that stands in relief against the conventional background of male-dominated cinema (films like Bhumika, Umbartha, and Bazaar). Smita Patil was also a women's rights activist and became famous for her roles in films that portrayed women as capable and empowered.

Gagan Sadan Tejomay...

''I remained committed to small cinema for about five years ... I refused all commercial offers. Around 1977-78, the small cinema movement started picking up and they needed names. I was unceremoniously dropped from a couple of projects. This was a very subtle thing but it affected me a lot. I told myself that here I am and I have not bothered to make money. I have turned down big, commercial offers because of my commitment to small cinema and what have I got in return? If they want names I'll make a name for myself. So I started and took whatever came my way.''

Aap ki yaad aati rahi - Gaman

In time she was accepted by commercial filmmakers and from Raj Khosla and Ramesh Sippy to B.R. Chopra, they all agreed that she was "excellent". Her fans, too, grew with her newfound stardom. Patil's glamorous roles in her more commercial films—such as Shakti and Namak Halaal -- revealed the permeable boundaries between "serious" cinema and "Hindi Cinema" masala in the Hindi film industry.

Tumhare Bina Jee Na Lage Ghar Mein - BHUMIKA 1977

Her association with artistic cinema remained strong, however. Her arguably greatest (and unfortunately final) role came when Smita re-teamed with Ketan Mehta to play the feisty and fiery Sonbai in Mirch Masala (1987). Smita won raves for playing a spirited spice-factory worker who stands up against a lecherous petty official.

Smita died from childbirth complications on 13 December 1986, aged 31, barely two weeks after having given birth to her son, Prateek Babbar.

Awards :


1978 - National Film Award - Best Actress for Bhumika
1982 - Filmfare Best Actress Award for Chakra
1982 - National Film Award - Best Actress for Chakra
1985 - Padma Shri Award


1978 - Filmfare Best Actress Award for Bhumika
1983 - Filmfare Best Actress Award for Bazaar
1984 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Arth
1984 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Mandi
1985 - Filmfare Best Actress Award for Aaj Ki Aawaz

On 19/06/2016 12:09 PM Mahesh dagadu dhokare... said:
Smitha patil is great marathi actrss ............ Ajun pan tyachi marathi asmitela bhasat ahe...i miss you smitha patil

On 11/09/2015 11:39 AM Bharati Ingale said:
जेव्हा सगळे बोलतात मी त्यांच्या सारखी दिसते मला छान वाटते ..

On 25/01/2014 06:24 PM Priya said:
could somebody with list of movies in which smita patil as acted in marathi movies

On 21/02/2013 05:05 PM said:
आज सुद्धा जवळ असल्या सारख्या वाटतात बाळपणातलि स्वप्न सुंदरि हरवल्या सरखे वाट्ले. I miss You a lot.

On 21/02/2013 05:04 PM विजय गयकवाड said:
आज सुद्धा जवळ असल्या सारख्या वाटतात बाळपणातलि स्वप्न सुंदरि हरवल्या सरखे वाट्ले. I miss You a lot.

On 18/12/2010 02:31 PM Poonam Salunke said:
स्मिता पाटील..... अजूनही मनात evergreen आहेत.......आणि तशाच राहतील परत अशी स्मिता आपल्याला कधीच मिळणार नाही ........

On 15/12/2010 02:51 PM Sagar Kale said:
स्मिता पाटील यांची उणीव कायम भासेल.

On 13/12/2010 09:43 PM संजीव देशमुख said:
मला हा लेख खूपच आवडला असेच लेख पुढेसुद्धा आवडतील. शाम बेनेगलांची मते मांडली असती तर अजून बरे वाटले असते.