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The Dirty Picture: Who was Silk Smitha?

Rohit Vats | http://nawabjha

Updated: August 31, 2011, 4:51 PM IST
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The Dirty Picture: Who was Silk Smitha?
Smitha was found dead in mysterious circumstances at the age of 36 but had appeared in more than 450 films by then.

New Delhi: 1982 was a great year for southern actor Smitha who had nine releases lined up. She followed up the year's performance with 13 releases and no one was complaining despite repetitive characterization.

Her fan following did not bother about the same basic storyline and just wanted their diva to appear on the silver screen. A storm of whistles and hooting followed every appearance. Smitha was 23 years old by the time she signed up for her 30th film.

But soon the screen goddess decided to do serious cinema to balance her raunchy screen act. She signed a film called Moondaram Pirai, later remade in Hindi as Sadma. Praised by critiques, she started to emerge as a bankable actor. Her career graph went up with critical appreciation. But the darling of millions wanted to get into film production.

After a year or so, she was found dead in mysterious circumstances in her Chennai apartment. Smitha was only 36 years old. People close to her later said she was suffering from depression.

Smitha was discovered by prolific actor and director Vinu Chakravarthy, who later renamed her as Silk Smitha. Silk was the name of her character in super hit Vandi Chakkaram.

Queen of box office, Silk Smitha was born in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, in the year 1960, and was educated up to fourth standard. Her aspirations took her to south India's prime film hub Kodambakkam, where she started as a simple make up girl.

However, her sultry complexion was soon noticed and she made it to the screen. Smitha became famous as a great dancer in no time. Her popularity can be imagined by the fact that she appeared in more than 450 films in a career of 17 years. From Shivaji Ganeshan and Kamal Hasan to Rajinikanth and Chiranjeevi, there was not a single actor, who wanted their films to be released without Silk's name on the poster.

Her dance numbers were so desired that producers were happy to wait for more than six months to get dates, even after completing the film. The name of one of her films was Silk, Silk, Silk.

But the success started to take its toll very soon. Probably, Smitha was not ready to handle the situation and like many other starlets, she too thought her stardom would remain eternal.

Life soon became devoid of friends and when a new generation of actors took over the centerstage, Smitha thought of getting into production. After some unsuccessful ventures, Smitha suddenly lost all hopes in life, and then the so called suicide happened.

Her USP lay in her dusky face and dancing. Silk was so good at dancing that at times she looked completely natural as a pop dancer, when in realty she was a well trained dancer. Smitha changed her dancing style constantly to suit the need of the film.

Now, when Milan Luthria's The Dirty Picture is scheduled to appear on screens on December 2, Silk's birthday, he will have to face a critical problem. People have showered their love on Silk Smitha, but they were hardly concerned about her personal life.

In fact, she hardly had any time to groom personal relationships, and that makes it difficult for the director which stand to take, whether to go by the popular notion of the mass about Silk or to portray her in an objective light.

First Published: August 31, 2011, 4:51 PM IST
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