Smita, an alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, kicked off her career as a TV newscaster. On being noticed by Shyam Benegal, she bagged film offers like 'Charandas Chor' and 'Nishant'. With Benegal's 'Manthan' in 1976 her acting potential came to the fore.
Smitha wasn't just an active feminist, but also a member of the Women's Centre in Mumbai.
She took up issues that were related to women empowerment and also did films which helped her explore the role of women in Indian society.
With Benegal's 'Bhumika', she bagged the National Award for best actress. Patil played the role of a strong character of an actress who chooses to lead an unconventional life.
Just two weeks after giving birth to her first child Prateik, Smita died because of childbirth complications on December 13, 1986.
About two decades later, Mrinal Sen, one of India's greatest film directors, alleged that she died due to medical negligence.
Smita, who was also involved in charity work, even donated her first National award prize money for a noble cause.
If reports are to be believed, Smita's family was also against her marriage to Raj, but Smita knew believed that things will work in her favour.
After she tied the knot with Raj Babbar, Patil was slammed by her fans and media. Raj Babbar left his first wife Nadira Babbar to marry Patil. And she was referred to as the 'home-breaker' by the feminist organizations she had worked for.
Whether it was her choice of roles in films, the feminist streak or the determination to go against the norm, Smita Patil wasn't just a strong, but also an exceptional actress. On her 58th birth anniversary, we help you know the actress better.