Remembering Smita Patil, on her 25th death anniversary. We pay tribute to the legendary actress
Smita Patil (17 October 1955 – 13 December 1986) was an Indian actress of film, television and theatre. Regarded among the finest stage and film actresses of her times, Patil appeared in over 75 Hindi and Marathi films in a career that spanned just over a decade. During her career, she received two National Film Awards and a Filmfare Award. She was the recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour in 1985.
Apart from acting, Patil was 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.
About her life
Smita Patil was born in Pune into a Marathi family to a Maharashtrian politician, Shivajirao Patil and social worker mother, from Shirpur town (Village-Bhatpure) of Khandesh province of Maharashtra State. Her first tryst with the camera was in the 1970s as a television newscaster for Doordarshan, the Indian government owned television service. Smita Patil belongs to a generation of actresses, including Shabana Azmi and, like her, who are strongly associated with the radically political cinema of the 1970s.
Patil was married to actor Raj Babbar. Smita died from childbirth complications on 13 December 1986, age 31, barely two weeks after having given birth to her son, Prateik Babbar.
Nearly two decades later, one of India’s greatest film directors, Mrinal Sen alleged that Smita Patil had died due to gross medical negligence.
Over ten of her films were released after her death. Her son Prateik Babbar is a film actor who made his debut in 2008.
In 2011, Rediff.com listed her as the second-greatest actress of all time, behind Nargis.