One of the most popular actresses of the 1980s in the South Indian film industry, Silk Smitha, mysteriously died in 1996 on September 23 at her apartment in Chennai. Though she died by suicide her death still remains a mystery after all these years as exact reason behind the extreme step is not known.
The actress became an iconic name in the south Indian film industry between 1980 and 1990, due to her bold choices. The legendary actress featured in many popular films such as Kiratham, Mafia, Justice Raja, Antham, Lockup Death, Karma, Gentleman Security, Coimbatore Mappillai, and Subash.
Today on the 25th death anniversary of the actress, here are some lesser-known facts about her.
She was born on December 2, 1960 in Eluru city of Andhra Pradesh. Silk Smitha’s real name was Vijayalakshmi Vadlapati.
The actress had left school just after class four owing to financial constraints in her family. Smitha started her acting career in 1978, with the Kannada movie Bedi. The actress later rose to fame with the movie Vandichakkaram. From that movie, the actress got her screen name. In the movie, she played the character of a bar girl named Silk.
Known as south Indian cinema’s Marylin Monroe, Silk Smitha, in her career spanning over 17 years in the film industry, acted in more than 450 films. She has done films in all five south Indian languages.
Two movies have been made on the life of the actress, Hindi film The Dirty Picture in 2011 and Malayalam film Climax in 2013. Popular Bollywood actress Vidya Balan played the role of Silk Smitha in The Dirty Picture while south actress Sana Khan portrayed the lead character in Climax.
The actress also performed several item numbers in films like Justice Raja, Mafia, Vandichakkaram, Lockup Death, Kiratham, Antham, Gentleman Security, Coimbatore Mappillai, Subash and Karma. Her last film Subash was released in 1996.
The actress used to work at least three shifts daily, and she charged Rs 50,000 for one item song at the time.
Many South superstars like Rajnikanth, Chiranjeevi, Sivaji Ganesan and Kamal Haasan always insisted Smitha to perform at least one song in their films.
According to reports, the actress in her two productions faced a loss of Rs 2 crore. Due to this, she suffered from depression. After this, Silk died by suicide though exact reason behind her suicide is not known. The actress hanged herself from the ceiling fan at her residence in Chennai. The news came as a huge shock to the entire South film industry.