With news coming out everyday of Vidya Balan doing the role of the sizzling south star, Silk Smitha in Dirty Picture, we took a look at the life of the sexy siren!
Born Vijayalakshmi in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, she left school after her fourth standard, determined to become a film star.
Moving with her aunt to Madras (then the centre of the South Indian film industry), she soon found a sponsor who renamed her Smitha.
And Became 'Silk'
After garnering much notice and acclaim with her first major role, in the Tamil movie Vandi Chakkaram (The Wheel), in 1979, Smitha assumed the name 'Silk,' after her character's name in the movie.
Starring Silk Smitha...
Silk Smitha went on to star in over 200 Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and a few Hindi films.
Boldness And Nudity!
Her dance numbers, full nude scenes and bold performances in films like Moondru Mugam have made her the ultimate symbol of sensuality in Tamil, Kannada. Malayalam and Telugu cinema. Her item numbers in films like Amaran were also celebrated at the box office.
Almost Soft Porn
Some film critics, historians and journalists have referred to her as a 'soft porn' actress. The vast majority of her movies are softcore and a common theme is her playing a freakishly strong agent in skimpy bikinis beating up huge thugs.
Even in the rare non-sexual roles, she impressed critics and audiences, such as her role of a wife hurt by her husband's infidelity in Alaigal Oivathillai (1981). One of her films, Layanam, has earned a cult status in the Indian adult film industry, and was remade as Reshma ki Jawani. Her most respected film is Moondram Pirai, remade as Sadma.
Did She Commit Suicide?
In 1996, Smitha was found dead in her Chennai apartment. The previous year she had tried to shift her career to become a film producer. Financial problems, disillusionment in love and an alcohol dependency apparently led to a depression. It is suspected that Smitha committed suicide.