A Tribute To The Dead Flower

smita_patil.jpgsmita_patil.jpgsmita_patil.jpgsmita_patil.jpgsmita_patil.jpgsmita_patil.jpgsmita_patil.jpgSmita PatilFrom the past few days, she has been bugging me. It started without any reason. I didn’t realize why. Wait, I do realize why. It’s almost 21 years since her untimely death.

Be it “Bhumika”, “Manthan”, “Chakra”, “Mandi”, “Arth”, or “Ardh Satya”, she ruled the screen. I liked her in “Shakti” as much as I liked her in “Mirch Masala”. I was, let us say, surprised by the grit and dazzle in “Dance Dance”. I liked her in the Kannada movie “Anveshane” as well.

Smita Patil is certainly one of the best things that happened to Indian cinema. The dusky beauty had captured millions of hearts, and minds, within a short period of time. A little less glamarous than Rekha, but a much better actress, she defined parallel cinema and took it to new heights.

Ask my wife, she will tell you that Smita’s biggest rival during her times, Shabana Azmi, is no match to her. I won’t go to that extent. I think Shabana is equally talented. But yes, Smita Patil had that uncanny attraction.

As for her personal life, I won’t comment much. I feel bad for Raj Babbar’s first wife, just like I felt bad for Boney Kapoor’s first wife. So, I probably would have hated Smita Patil if she was my friend or relative. But, she was not. So, I choose to look at her as an actress.

She died tragically during childbirth on December 13th, 1986. I remember watching Doordarshan news. They covered the story very well, for several days. I hope her son Prateek realizes how great an actress his mother was.

Smita Patil was a genuinely talented actress. She came in a decade which saw the rise of “art” movies. Her immature death is certainly one of Indian cinema’s greatest tragedies. Smita, we miss you. We will always cherish you!!!  

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15 Comments on “A Tribute To The Dead Flower”

  1. parijata Says:

    I think I agree with M. True, Shabana Azmi was a talented actress, but Smita Patil could outshine her, anytime. Like in Shyam Benegal’s movie ‘Ankur’, Smita Patil would have been much more natural than Shabana Azmi. Azmi has this sophisticated look, which makes her suitable only for some roles, she can never be as versatile as Patil (IMO).

  2. Aram Says:

    Those whom God loves die young.

    By the way, ” I think I agree with M.” Who is M? Is it the initial letter of Mrs. Stud’s name?

  3. Aram Says:

    “I feel bad for Raj Babbar’s first wife, just like I felt bad for Boney Kapoor’s first wife. So, I probably would have hated Smita Patil if she was my friend or relative.”

    Funny, how values change over time, geography, religion, and beliefs.

    Just until 60 years ago, polygamy was a matter of status amongst Hindus. It still is amongst the followers of the “true faith,” for whom their founder showed the way without age constraints, etc.

  4. Srik Says:

    Smitha Patil…. what a wonderful actress… I’m with ur wife(M) when comparing her to others… She was just a step ahead of everyone else!

    I can not fathom the idea of stunning actors/actresses dying tragically, and untimely.

  5. praneshachar Says:

    great tribute to a great actress ever seen in indian cinema and tribute is coming the core of the heart that is what it makes so memorable. remembering her death anniversary shows the committment of you to the art and the actress.
    smitha your soul must be cherishing these moments when so many of your ardent fans who just loved you for your acting and acting and acting…………………….

  6. parijaatha Says:

    I wonder why Smita Patil fans always make it a point to say that she is better than Shabana Azmi.I don’t see that trend among Om Puri fans…they never say..”Oh! Om Puri is a better actor than Naseeruddin shah!” 😉

    I think Shabana is a very good actress..and so was Smitha Patil.Smitha Patil was definitely the more attractive!


  7. I haven’t seen too many movies of hers, but two things I remember: Smita on Doordarshan and that song from Namak Halal which exmplifies that dusky beauty image you mention:

  8. rads Says:

    oooo, I LOVE Smita patil. Remember her death being covered. felt bad.

    Smita had looks going for her as well as acting comp to Shabana 😉

    BPSk: need to see Paar, she and Naseeruddin 🙂


  9. @ pArijAta:
    M thinks Shabana Azmi had the ‘right connections’ I do personally liek Smita Patil more, but am not sure if I agree that Shabana was no match.

    @ Aram:
    Doesn’t Mrs. DS start with an ‘M’? 😉

    Sure, plygamy may have been revered, but that was then. I just cannot understand how a girl can just walk-in and break up a relationship between a husband and a wife. If that girl has even an iota of decency, pride, compassion, or humanness, she wouldn’t ever dare to. Same holds good for boys who break up marriages as well. That’s why I don’t like a certain cricketer (even though he is a ‘good Kannadiga’).

    @ Srik:
    Yes, I am a big fan of Smita Patil as well. She is one of my all time favorites.

    @ praneshachar:
    Thanks. I am glad I did this.

    @ paarijatha:
    Certain comparisons are inevitable. Say Latha and Asha is right behind, Rajkumar is followed by Vishnuvardhan all the time, Tendulkar and Lara are inseparable. It’s just the way it is. As for Om Puri, I think Naseeruddin Shah is a better actor 😉

    @ BS:
    Right on!!!

    @ rads:
    I am with you on this.

  10. Aram Says:

    “Doesn’t Mrs. DS start with an ‘M’?”

    So it does. Going to the next level, is the initial of the last name (maiden name) K?

    as in MK, the initials of the Ramabasher of Chennai.


  11. @ Aram:
    Remember I once said that you are “not all that innocent”. I still stick with that 🙂

  12. Aram Says:

    “Remember I once said that you are “not all that innocent”. ”

    Remember how I confused you for Dr. MSN?

    So, just trying to match real versus virtual identities.

    Besides, my granduncle Narayan’s widow who departed this year (May her soul rest in peace!) had been staying in Kabbur Buildings in Sion for the last 60 years.

  13. Nikhil Says:

    Smita Paatil was an amazing talent, no where else found.

    Due to a very good screen presence and in your face attitude.

    The characters Smita Paatil portrayed always fought for justice in the dangerous and artificial world.

    Smita Paatil was also capable to act any kind of roles: no limitations at all!

    Very few know that Smita Paatil received the French ,Chevalier award too.

    Like said in Wikipedia, no one has been able to show such powerful intensity, in the Indian film world as Smita Paatil did.

    We must wait to see if Prateek Babbar has that power .

  14. raj Says:

    the difference between smita and shabana is evident in Arth….Shabana no doubt having the main srole…demonstrates the usual histrionics of a hurt and betrayed housewife….but smita’s character is more challenging and certainly atypical…of the near-neurotic,fickle,insecure other woman.
    and yeah…shabana was trained…smita did not learn acting!


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