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Lesser known facts about India's sultry beauty Silk Smitha

Apr 02, 2019

Lesser known facts about India's sultry beauty Silk Smitha
Lesser known facts about India's sultry beauty Silk Smitha | Photography: Cocktailzindagi

Silk Smitha has an undeniable place in the history of Indian cinema and was an unapologetic sex-siren. Here are some facts about this sultry beauty that will shock you.

Early days

Silk Smitha came from a very poor, rural family where she could not even afford to complete her education. It is said that she attracted a lot of male attention which made her parents decide to get her married as a young teenager to a bullock cart driver. Her husband was a drunkard who used to beat up Silk Smitha every day. Unable to bear the tortures of her husband and her in-laws, Silk Smitha ran away from her house and landed up in Chennai at her relative’s house.

Entry into films

Desperate to find work to sustain in the city, Silk worked as a domestic help as well as a ‘touch-up’ artiste for some small-time actresses as she had a keen interest in make-up. Gradually, she got to work as an extra artiste in few films. 

She was roped in for a substantial role by Antony Eastman for his Malayalam film Inaye Thedi since the original heroine passed away suddenly.

Her big break

She got noticed by the masses through the film Vandichakkram where she played the role of ‘Silk’, a bar girl. She was noticed by director Vinu Chakravarthy who got impressed by Silk’s beauty when he had casually spotted her at a flour mill. Soon, he took her under his wing and made her train in dance and got her familiar with speaking English with his wife’s help. Her role in the movie became an instant hit and the name of the character stuck with her for life.

Ahead of her time

Although her role as Silk made the industry stereotype her with similar roles, she impressed critics with her impressive acting prowess in rare non-erotic roles as well. In her erotic roles, she broke the rules of the 80s and became an epitome of boldness and embracing her own sexuality. Through her roles, she called out the hypocrisy of Indian men who enjoyed crass sexuality of women but covered it up with a false sense of “morals” that they expected women to abide by.

Link up with Rajinikanth

She shared a sizzling chemistry with many top stars of that time including Chiranjeevi, Kamal Hassan and the likes. However, her work with Rajinikanth was noted for the sparks that both the actors generated on the screen with their dance numbers. There were rumours of an affair between the two at that time. However, the rumours were quickly bashed by the superstar’s fans.

In fact, Ekta Kapoor’s Dirty Picture which was said to have been influenced by Silk Smitha’s life had a character played by Naseeruddin Shah that was shown to lust over Silk Smitha in the film and this character was rumoured to be inspired by Rajinikanth.

There were protests for this rumour as well and the producers of the movie clarified that the character was not based on Rajinikanth.

Mysterious death

Her sudden death was a shock to the public. She died at the age of 35 and the reasons behind her death are still a mystery although majority of the people regard it as a suicide. She had talked to her dancer friend Anuradha and told her that she wanted to discuss about some stuff that was disturbing her. She was later found dead in her apartment in Chennai on 23rd September, 1996. A few years back Kannada actor Ravichandran revealed that Silk Smitha had tried to reach his number several times that morning but they could not talk due to connectivity issues. He says that he was shocked to discover that she had killed herself after that.