Silk Smitha storySilk Smitha, the sultry actress and B-grade movie queen from South India, has a rags to riches story, which will be essayed by Vidya Balan for Dirty Picture. Silk Smitha’s real name was Vijayalakshmi, she was born on December 2, 1960. Her active period where she flourished as an item girl and seductress was between 1979 and 1996. Silk Smitha died at the age of 35 on September 23,1996 having committed suicide.
Silk Smitha also known as Silk Sumitha, was born in a poor family, in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh. Due to financial problems in the family, she had to drop out of school in fourths standard itself. She blossomed to grow as a sultry looking girl and she was constantly propositioned and physically ‘exploited’ by men, which is why Vijayalakshmi’s parents married her off at a very young age. However, the ill-treatment from her husband and in-laws made Silk Smitha leave her husband’s home and move over to Madras where she lived with her aunt.
Silk began her career as a touch-up girl to B-grade actresses in B-grade films and then got break in small character roles. Vinu Chakravathy, a director chanced up her in a flour-mill and found that she had potential for bigger things. He renamed Vijayalakshmi as ‘Silk’; his wife taught her English. The girl proved to be a fast learner and she even took dancing lessons from another teacher.
In 1979, Silk Smitha got a role in a Malayalam film called ‘Inaye Thedi’; her sex appeal found her a lot of takers who wanted to star as a cabaret dancer or vamp in their films. Soon, she began to get typecast in these films. In the same year in 1979, Silk got her major role in a Tamil film called ‘Vandi Chakkaram’ and the movie was a superhit. The character that she played was also called ‘Silk’, so Vijayalakshmi as she was known to everyone, changed her name forever to ‘Silk Smitha’. But her sensous appeal and dusky skin gave her only movies where she was to play the seductress, the vamp or the cabaret dancer, limting her choice in roles.
Silk Smitha began to drop her clothes to get more attention and attention she did get, as she became most men’s secret fantasy in the 80s as she flourished rapidly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam cinema. Her dance numbers and bold sequences had men eating out of her palms, so much that they would buy tickets only to watch Silk Smitha. She was indeed a hot property who would outshine the heroine too. Silk Smitha truly was the first red-hot item girl, but then critics dismissed her as a cheap actress. Most of her subsequent movies had the softcore appeal while in some she would be a cheap version of a desi-Bond girl wearing bikinis and strutting her stuff .
Silk Smitha’s signature rolling of tongue, biting of her lower lip, looking at her lover in a trance-like manner through hazy, sultry eyes and her voluptuous figure had the junta rushing to the movies with a pretext of watching the film, while the real reason was to check her out. Silk Smitha would charge as much as Rs. 50000 per dance sequence and she would do two or even three sequences in a day. There was even a movie called Silk, Silk , Silk where Silk Smitha played a triple role. In less than 10 years of her entry, Silk Smitha had done 500 films which included A, B and C grade films.
But there was much more to Silk Smitha beyond her sex appeal, she was an accomplished actress too. Some of the best performances of Silk Smitha are in movies like Alaigal Oivathillai (1981) where she played the role of a neglected wife who is hurt by her husband’s infidelity. Writer Jerry Pinto says, “Watch Silk Smitha’s sequences and you will find a sense of lingering sorrow. It’s almost as if there were two Silk Smithas there: One watching her own self dance, detached and dispassionate about being put through these calisthenics.”,
Layanam (1989) is one of the most famous adult films in India and it starred Silk Smitha in her sizzling best. The movie was dubbed in many languages across the country including in Hindi as Reshma ki Jawani (2002). Most people know about Silk Smitha’s sensuous yet brilliant performance as a woman who has a huge crush on Kamal Hassan in Balu Mahendra’s Moondram Pirai, which was remade as Sadma. Silk Smitha had fulfilled her dream of working with A-grade stars, she had brushed with the best of male stars in her time, Shivaji Ganeshan, Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi and Mithun Chakraborthy.
Silk Smitha’s movies list
Year Film Role Language
1979 Inaye Thedi Malayalam
1979 Vandi Chakkaram Silk as bar girl Tamil
1981 Alaigal Oivathillai Tamil
1981 Seethakoka Chiluka Telugu
1982 Yamakinkarudu Telugu
1982 Moondram Pirai Headmaster's wife Tamil
1982 Sagalakala Vallavan Tamil
1982 Pattanathu Rajakkal Tamil
1982 Theerpu Tamil
1982 Thanikattu Raja Tamil
1982 Ranga Tamil
1982 Sivantha Kankal Tamil
1982 Parvaiyin Marupakkam Tamil
1983 Moondru Mugam Tamil
1983 Paayum Puli Tamil
1983 Thudikkum Karangal Tamil
1983 Sadma Soni Hindi
1983 Thai Veedu Tamil
1983 Prathigna Malayalam
1983 Thanga Magan Tamil
1983 Khaidi Telugu
1983 Jeet Hamaari Soni Hindi
1983 Jaani Dost Laila Hindi
1983 Attakkalasam Malayalam
1983 Eettappuli Rani Malayalam
1983 Silk Silk Silk Tamil
1983 Soorakottai Singakutti Tamil
1983 Gudachari No.1 Telugu
1983 Roshagadu Telugu
1984 Challenge Priyamvada Telugu
1984 Rustum Telugu
1984 Neenga Kettavai Tamil
1984 Vaazhkai Tamil
1984 Prachanda Kulla Kannada
1985 Ottayam Bhagyalakshmi Malayalam
1985 Revenge Geetha Malayalam
1985 Chattamtho Poratam Telugu
1985 Shri Datta Darshanam Telugu
1986 Raakshasudu Telugu
1987 Aalappirandhavan Tamil
1989 Miss Pamela Malayalam
1989 Layanam Malayalam
1989 Andru Peytha Mazhaiyil Tamil
1989 Adharvam Ponni Malayalam
1989 Pick Pocket Tamil
1989 Sonthakkaran Sudha Tamil
1990 Avasara Police 100 Tamil
1990 Sunday 7 PM Malayalam
1990 Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata Telugu
1991 Aditya 369 Rajanarthaki Nandini Telugu
1991 Thalattu Ketkudhamma Tamil
1991 Chaithanya Telugu
1991 Thambikku Oru Paattu Tamil
1991 Idhayam Tamil
1992 Naadody Malayalam
1992 Halli Meshtru Kannada
1992 Antham Telugu
1993 Sabash Babu Tamil
1993 Bava Bavamaridi Telugu
1993 Mafia Malayalam
1993 Ulle Veliye Tamil
1993 Alimayya Kannada
1993 Rakshana Telugu
1993 Muta Mestri Telugu
1994 Oru Vasantha Geetham Tamil
1994 Vijaypath Hindi
1994 Palnati Pourusham Telugu
1994 Maro Quit India Telugu
1995 Spadikam Laila Malayalam
1995 Thumboli Kadappuram Malayalam
1996 Lucky Man Tamil
1996 Coimbatore Mappillai Tamil
1996 Subaash Tamil
Silk Smitha death
Silk Smitha was found dead in her Chennai apartment, having committed suicide. The cause of her death is not known, it may have been her disillusionment of getting failure as a film producer which she had tried her hand on the previous year, an unrequited love or alcohol dependency.
At 11.30 morning on September 23, 1996, Silk Smiha was found dead in her home in Saligramam, hanging by a rope from the ceiling fan of her bedroom. She had left a suicide note in which she had written that she was frustrated with repeated failures in her life and so she was taking the extreme step.
Cause of Silk Smitha's death
Silk Smitha’s popularity began to wane by mid 90s. She had a live-in boyfriend who had promised to start her luxury life from scratch and lured her into producing films. If reports are to be believed, Silk Smitha’s two movies that she had produced flopped and she was in debt for Rs. 20 milloin while the third one was stuck due to loss of funds.
Silk Smitha could not reconcile to the fact that she was back to her impoverished day that she never wanted to go to, after she had reveled in luxury. She did get the odd film over, the last one beign a movie called Subaash, a Tamil film, that released two days before her death.
The police directed examining doctors to send a part of Silk Smitha’s body parts to forensic scientists to find out if there were traces of poison in her body, she might have been poisoned before hanging her by the fan; they felt. A post-mortem report on Silk Smitha revealed a large amount of bananas and chocolates in her stomach.
Silk Smitha affairs
Silk Smitha had a string of lovers and some of them were producers, directors and even A-grade actors who were besotted by her. Director Velu Prabhakaran confessed that he had an intimate relationship with Silk Smitha and had cheated on his girlfriend for her. Director Vinu Chakravarthy who was already married, had a secret relationship with Silk Smitha as well
Silk Smitha's boyfriend speaks up
Years later, when Ekta Kapoor decided to make Dirty Picture, a biopic loosely based on Silk Smitha, her boyfriend director Vinu Chakravarthy who had given her the first break says, "It was I who created the phenomenon of Silk Smitha through my film Vandi Chakram way back in 1980. I wrote the script in 1976 and chiseled the character 'Silk' for almost three years before we took off in 1979.
Smitha, aka Vijayalakshmi, assumed the name Silk subsequently, as her character in the movie became so popular. 'Silk' is my creation and anyone who makes a film on her should take permission from me.I want to go through the script or else I will raise an objection when they apply to the Censor Board.This is because it is my genuine concern that Silk Smitha should not be projected in a demeaning way. I would gladly work for free if they approached me."
He also feels that Vidya Balan does not suit the character of Silk Smitha. He said, “"Vidya has a sad face and the main attractiveness of Smitha lay in her large, inviting eyes. This is missing in Vidya. Deepika or Aishwarya would be better."
Producer Ekta Kapoor was quick to respond, “Vinu is talking rubbish. To begin with, how can he cast aspersions on my casting? Vidya is such a fine actress. Has he seen how broad her range of emotion is on screen? And Vidya certainly doesn't have a sad face.I don't know how Vinu looks, but there's an age-old saying 'peele ko peela dikhta hai'. Besides, silk was made by worms, not Vinu"
She believes that Vidya Balan is best suited for the role of Silk Smitha. "Casting is not about selecting people who resemble certain characters in physical appearance. Today Indian cinema has changed completely.
It's all about being on screen what you are not in real life. Does Vinu know that the sexy actress and fashion model Charlize Theron had a stunning physical transformation when she played a serial killer in Monster (2003), a performance that won several awards? Who is this Vinu to object? Who is he to decide? If he was Silk Smitha's blood relative, I can understand. It's a very bad case of hallucinations.I am definitely not showing him the script. I know what I am doing. And I certainly don't need to appoint Vinu on my film. I don't need his services, free or otherwise."