Smita Patil

Smita Patil (17 October 1955[1] – 13 December 1986[3][4]) was an Indian actress of film, television and theatre. Regarded among the finest stage and film actresses of her times and one of the greatest film actresses of all time,[5] Patil appeared in over 80[2] Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam and Kannada films in a career that spanned just over a decade.[6] 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. She made her film debut with Shyam Benegal's[7] Charandas Chor (1975).[8] She became one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema, a New Wave movement in India cinema, though she also appeared in several mainstream movies throughout her career.[5] Her performances were often acclaimed, and her most notable roles include Manthan (1977),[1][8] Bhumika (1977),[1][8] Jait Re Jait (1978), Aakrosh (1980), Chakra (1981), Namak Halaal (1982), Bazaar (1982), Umbartha (1982), Shakti (1982), Arth (1982), Ardh Satya (1983), Mandi (1983), Aaj Ki Awaaz (1984), Chidambaram (1985), Mirch Masala (1985), Amrit (1986) and Waaris (1988).[9][1][5]

Smita Patil
Smita Patil 2013 stamp of India.jpg
Patil on a 2013 stamp of India
Born(1955-10-17)17 October 1955
Died13 December 1986(1986-12-13) (aged 31)
OccupationActress, television newscaster
Years active1974–1986
Notable work
Spouse(s)Raj Babbar
ChildrenPrateik Babbar
Parent(s)Shivajirao Girdhar Patil
Vidyatai Patil

Apart from acting, Patil was an active feminist 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.[10]

Patil was married to actor Raj Babbar. She died on 13 December 1986 at the age of 31 due to childbirth complications. Over ten of her films were released after her death. Her son Prateik Babbar is a film actor who made his debut in 2008.

Early lifeEdit

Smita Patil was born in Pune[11] to a Maharashtrian politician, Shivajirao Girdhar Patil and social worker mother Vidyatai Patil, from Shirpur town (Village-Bhatpure District-Dhule) of Khandesh province of Maharashtra State. She studied at Renuka Swaroop Memorial high school in Pune.[citation needed]

Her first tryst with the camera was in the early 1970s as a television newsreader[12] on the newly transmitting Mumbai Doordarshan, the Indian government run broadcaster.[13]


Smita Patil belonged to a generation of actresses, including Shabana Azmi and, like her, who are strongly associated with the radically political cinema of the 1970s. Her work includes films with parallel cinema directors like Shyam Benegal,[8] Govind Nihalani, Satyajit Ray (Sadgati, 1981),[4] G. Aravindan (Chidambaram, 1985) 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.[14]

She won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the Hindi film Bhumika.[9] In her films, Patil's character often represents an intelligent femininity that stands in relief against the conventional background of male-dominated cinema. Smita Patil was a women's rights activist and became famous for her roles in films that portrayed women as capable and empowered.

"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."

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 new-found 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. In 1984, she served as a jury member of the Montreal World Film Festival.[15]

Director C. V. Sridhar was the first one to pair her opposite Rajesh Khanna in Dil-E-Nadan in 1982. After the success of this film, Smita and Khanna were paired in successful films like Aakhir Kyon?, Anokha Rishta, Angaarey, Nazrana, Amrit. With the release of Aakhir Kyon? her popularity and her pairing with Khanna were at its peak. The songs "Dushman Na Kare Dost Ne Woh" and "Ek Andhera Lakh Sitare" from Aakhir Kyon? were chartbusters. Each of these films were different and dealt with various social issues. Their performances were critically acclaimed. In 1986, Amrit directed by Mohan Kumar became fifth highest-grossing film of the year. Nazrana, co-starring Sridevi released posthumously and became a box office success and was among the top 10 films of 1987.

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 released after her death in 1987. Smita won raves for playing a spirited spice-factory worker who stands up against a lecherous petty official. On the centenary of Indian cinema in April 2013, Forbes included her performance in the film on its list, "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema".[16]

During the making of Chakra, Smita Patil used to visit the slums in Bombay. It culminated in another National Award.

Personal lifeEdit

When she became romantically involved with actor Raj Babbar,[17] 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.[18]

Death and legacyEdit

Smita died from childbirth complications (Puerperal sepsis) on 13 December 1986,[4] age 31, barely two weeks after having given birth to her son, Prateik Babbar.[19]

Nearly two decades later, one of India's greatest film directors, Mrinal Sen alleged that Smita Patil had died due to gross medical negligence.[20]

In 2011, listed her as the second-greatest Indian actress of all time, behind Nargis.[21] According to Suresh Kohli from Deccan Herald, "Smita Patil was, perhaps, the most accomplished actress of Hindi cinema. Her oeuvre is outstanding, investing almost every portrayal with a powerhouse realistic performance."[22]

In 2012, the Smita Patil International Film Festival Documentaries and Shorts was initiated in her honour.[23][24][25][26][27][28]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Civilian AwardEdit

Film AwardsEdit

Year Award Category Film Result Notes
1977 National Film Awards Best Actress Bhumika Won
1980 Chakra Won
1978 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards Best Actress (Hindi) Mirch Masala Won
1977 Filmfare Marathi Awards Best Actress Jait Re Jait Won Marathi film
1982 Umbartha Won
1978 Filmfare Awards Best Actress Bhumika Nominated
1982 Chakra Won
1983 Bazaar Nominated
1984 Best Supporting Actress Arth Nominated
Mandi Nominated
1985 Best Actress Aaj Ki Aawaz Nominated


Year Title Role Notes
1974 Raja Shiv Chhatrapati Saibai Hindi/Marathi
1974 Mere Saath Chal Geeta
1975 Samna[3] Kamley Marathi film
1975 Nishant (Night's End) Rukumani[8]
1975 Charandas Chor Rajkumari (Princess)
1976 Manthan[3] Bindu
1977 Bhumika[3][29] Usha / Urvashi Dalvi National Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated–Filmfare Best Actress Award
1977 Saal Solvan Chadya Pinky Punjabi film
1977 Jait Re Jait Chindhi Marathi film
1978 Kondura / Anugraham Parvati Hindi / Telugu film
1978 Gaman Khairun Hussain
1978 Anugraham
1980 Sarvasakshi Sujatha Marathi Film
1980 The Naxalites Ajitha
1980 Sapne Apne Apne
1980 Bhavani Bhavai[1] Ujaan Gujarati Film
1980 Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai Joan
1980 Aakrosh Nagi Lahanya
1980 Anveshane Revati Kannada film
1981 Chakra Amma National Film Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Best Actress Award
1981 Tajurba Pinki
1981 Sadgati Jhuria TV movie
1981 Akaler Sandhane Herself
1982 Namak Halaal Poonam Hindi
1982 Bazaar Najma Nominated–Filmfare Best Actress Award
1982 Badle Ki Aag Bijli
1982 Dil-E-Nadaan Sheela
1982 Shakti Roma Devi
1982 Arth Kavita Sanyal Nominated–Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
1982 Umbartha[1][3] Sulabha Mahajan Marathi film, Dubbed as Subah in Hindi
Marathi Rajya Chitrapat Puraskar for Best Actress
1982 Sitam Meenakshi
1982 Dard Ka Rishta Dr. Anuradha
1982 Bheegi Palkein Shanti
1982 Naseeb Ni Balihari Gujarati Film
1983 Chatpati
1983 Ghungroo Kesarbai
1983 Qayamat Shashi
1983 Ardh Satya[3][29] Jyotsna Gokhale
1983 Mandi Zeenat[8] Nominated–Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
1983 Haadsa Asha
1983 Anveshane Revati
1984 Farishta Kashibai
1984 Sharaabi Guest Appearance in Song "Jahan Char Yaar Mil Jaye"
1984 Hum Do Hamare Do
1984 Aaj Ki Aawaz Rajni Deshmukh Nominated–Filmfare Best Actress Award
1984 Raavan Ganga
1984 Pet Pyaar Aur Paap
1984 Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki Aarti
1984 Tarang[3] Janki
1984 Shapath Shanti
1984 Meraa Dost Meraa Dushman Lali
1984 Kanoon Meri Mutthi Mein
1984 Giddh Hanumi
1984 Anand Aur Anand Kiran
1985 Jawab Rajni / Radha Gupta / Fredi Martis / Salma Hussain
1985 Ghulami Sumitra Sultan Singh
1985 Meraa Ghar Mere Bachche Geeta Bhargav
1985 Aakhir Kyon? Nisha
1985 Chidambaram[3] Shivagami Malayalam film
1985 Debshishu Seeta Posthumous Release Bengali film[30]
1986 Kaanch Ki Deewar Nisha
1986 Dilwaala Sumitra Devi
1986 Aap Ke Saath Ganga
1986 Amrit Kamla Shrivastav
1986 Teesra Kinara
1986 Anokha Rishta Dr. Miss Padma Kapoor
1986 Dahleez Sukhbir Kaur
1986 Angaarey Arti Varma
1987 Insaniyat Ke Dushman Lakshmi Nath Posthumous Release
1987 Nazrana Mukta Posthumous Release
1987 Thikana Shashi Goel Posthumous Release
1987 Mirch Masala Sonbai Posthumous Release
1987 Dance Dance Radha Posthumous Release
1987 Raahee Rano / Sandhya Posthumous Release
1987 Ahsaan Posthumous Release
1987 Avam Dr. Shabnam Posthumous Release
1987 Thikana Shashi Goel Posthumous Release
1987 Aaj Kavita Posthumous Release
1987 Sutradhar Prerna Posthumous Release
1987 Sher Shivaji Posthumous Release
1988 Hum Farishte Nahin Roma Posthumous Release
1988 Waaris Paramjit Posthumous Release
1988 Akarshan Posthumous Release, Special appearance
1989 Oonch Neech Beech Unreleased
1989 Galiyon Ke Badshah Tulsi Posthumous Release(Final film role)

Government recognitionEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Subodh Kapoor (1 July 2002). The Indian Encyclopaedia: Biographical, Historical, Religious, Administrative, Ethnological, Commercial and Scientific. Indo-Pak War-Kamla Karri. Cosmo Publication. pp. 6699–. ISBN 978-81-7755-257-7. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b D. Sharma (1 January 2004). Mass Communication : Theory & Practice In The 21St Century. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 298. ISBN 978-81-7629-507-9. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Annette Kuhn (1990). The Women's Companion to International Film. University of California Press. pp. 310–. ISBN 978-0-520-08879-5. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Andrew Robinson (1989). Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye. University of California Press. pp. 258–. ISBN 978-0-520-06946-6. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Lahiri, Monojit (20 December 2002). "A blazing talent remembered". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  6. ^ Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterji, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. p. 601. ISBN 81-7991-066-0.
  7. ^ Si. Vi Subbārāvu (2007). Hyderabad: the social context of industrialisation, 1875–1948. Orient Blackswan. pp. 82–. ISBN 978-81-250-1608-3. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f William van der Heide (12 June 2006). Bollywood Babylon: Interviews with Shyam Benegal. Berg. pp. 208–. ISBN 978-1-84520-405-1. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  9. ^ a b Hena Naqvi (1 January 2007). Journalism And Mass Communication. Upkar Prakashan. pp. 202–. ISBN 978-81-7482-108-9. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Reminiscing About Smita Patil"
  11. ^ Frontpage – MANAS. Retrieved on 8 November 2018.
  12. ^ "स्मिता पाटिल बॉयोग्राफी". Newstrend. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  13. ^ Gulazāra; Govind Nihalani; Saibal Chatterjee (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema: An Enchanting Close-Up of India's Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 625–. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Indian Cinema – Smita Patil", SSCnet UCLA
  15. ^ "Awards of the Montreal World Film Festival – 1984". Montreal World Film Festival. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  16. ^ Prasad, Shishir; Ramnath, N. S.; Mitter, Sohini (27 April 2013). "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema". Forbes. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  17. ^ "'She was a great human being'". 13 December 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  18. ^ "'25 years on, a phenomenon named Smita Patil '". 13 December 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  19. ^ Ram Awatar Agnihotri (1998). Film stars in Indian politics. Commonwealth Publishers. ISBN 978-81-7169-506-5. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Memories from Mrinal da",, 2 February 2005.
  21. ^ Sen, Raja (29 June 2011). "Readers Choice: The Greatest Actresses of all time". Retrieved 22 September 2011.
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  23. ^ staff. "Smita Patil Documentary and Short Film Festival". Time Out. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  24. ^ "7th Smita Patil international film festival to be held in Pune on December 8–9". Hindustan Times. 7 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Every life matters, says the man who has saved scores | Pune News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  26. ^ "Salvage army". Pune Mirror.
  27. ^ "Cop documents work of Pune's unsung hero". Pune Mirror.
  28. ^ "A Documentary On An 81 Year Old Woman Porter Is Throwing Its Weight At International Film Festivals". 26 February 2015.
  29. ^ a b Anwar Huda (1 January 2004). Art And Science Of Cinema. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 52–. ISBN 978-81-269-0348-1. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  30. ^ "Debashishu". Archived from the original on 17 July 2009.

External linksEdit