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Smita Patil – A Gentle Giant Of Parallel Cinema

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With reflexes uninhibited and a face which had immense mobility, Smita Patil became a gentle giant of the art house cinema. She secured her place in the audience which were more perceptive. Dusky, smouldering and earthy looks, she captured the screen with her high voltage performances. She made a powerful quartet along with Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. Though she wasn’t a classic beauty but she had sensuous looks and blazing talent. She was one of the best things that happened to Indian arthouse cinema and she was equally good with the caravan of her share of commercial films. Popular for her films like Bhumika, Chakra, Arth, Mirch Masala, Namak Halaal she made a place for herself in the male dominated showbiz only on the basis of her talent.

While she remained faithful with the parallel cinema, she did some commercial mainstream roles with filmmakers like Raj Khosla, Ramesh Sippy and BR Chopra. Apart from being an actress, Smita Patil was deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and freedom movement. Like her contemporaries she wasn’t trained in acting. Her intensity was instinctive. The amount of work which Smita Patil managed to do in just 11 years of her career is colossal. That is the main reason why we remember her even years after her death.
A mixed bag of Smita Patil songs, some known, some lesser known.

1. Bhumika (1977) – Based on the autobiography, Saangte Aika, of the well-known Marathi stage and screen actress Hansa Wadkar. It won Smita Patil, the National as well as the Filmfare award for best actress.

2. Gaman (1978) – Rendered by Chhaya Ganguly, this nazm by Makhdoom Moiuddin is set to tune by Jaidev.

3. Bazaar (1982) – This beauty of a song rendered by Bhupinder Singh, finds a place in one of the best by Khayyam. Lyrics by Bashar Nawaz.

4. Bheegi Palkein (1982) – The film had Smita Patil starring with her real life husband, Raj Babbar for the first time. A sweet duet rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi

5. Shakti (1982) – Smita Patil was earlier paired with Amitabh Bachchan in an out and out commercial film, Namak Halal. Here again she’s starring opposite him in a Ramesh Sippy blockbuster.

6. Ghungroo (1983) – Another lovely mujra song rendered by Asha Bhonsle, Smita Patil plays opposite Shashi Kapoor.

7. Chatpatee (1983) – The film is produced by Deven Verma, starring Raj Kiran and Smita Patil. Lyrics by Yogesh put to tune by Basu-Manohari.

8. Aakhir Kyun (1985) – In another commercial multistarrer from the house of J. Om Prakash, Smita Patil starred opposite Rajesh Khanna and Rakesh Roshan.

9. Dance Dance (1987) – Smita Patil adorned a glamorous avtar with the disco king Mithun Chakravarty.

10. Waaris (1988) – An off beat film, where Smita Patil was seen opposite Raj Kiran once again. It happened to be one of her last films, releasing after her death.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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