Vijayalakshmi Vadlapatla aka Silk Smitha was born in Andhra Pradesh on December 2, 1960. She became an actress who was popular for her bold character in Indian films predominantly in the South industry. She started her career as a temporary makeup artist and later entered showbiz after getting a few parts as a side actress. The 1979 Tamil film, Vandichakkaram was a turning point in her career. She became an overnight sensation and one of the most sought after erotic actresses in the 80s. She was given the name Smitha, but widely known as Silk Smitha. The name was given by one of her directors and was instantly opted by others in the industry.
The actress worked in over 450 films, in several languages, including Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, and Hindi. She worked with the biggest superstars in India, such as Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Mohanlal, Akkineni Nagarjuna, and Mammootty.
Unfortunately, Silk’s glamorous life and prominence did not last long. Silk was suffering from mental distress for a long period and had reportedly cut off from public life. She was found dead in her Chennai apartment on September 23, 1996.
On her birth anniversary, let’s look at some of her most memorable roles:
Silk’s character in her debut film directed by K. Vijayan was called Silk for the first time. The film garnered her immense popularity that skyrocketed soon after it was released. The Tamil film starred Sivakumar and Saritha in key roles. Silk portrayed the character of a bar girl.
Adutha Varisu (1983)
The film Raja Jani was remade in Tamil. The remake featured Rajinikanth and Sridevi in lead roles. Silk essayed a character known as Usha. She danced to a track in the film called Vaazhga. Another track was picturised on her and main hero Rajinikanth, titled as Pesa koodathu.
Moondram Pirai (1982)
Silk was extremely popular for her dance during her career and she enjoyed performing item numbers. She essayed the school headmaster's wife in the Kamal Haasan-Sridevi starrer. The National Award winning film was made again in Hindi with the title Sadma’. Kamal Haasan, Sridevi as well as Silk Smitha reprised their parts in the remake of the Tamil original.
Miss Pameela (1989)
This film gave Silk her first and only known lead role. She played Miss Pamela in the Malayalam film and had Thiagarajan play the male protagonist. Other supporting roles were played by Suresh Gopi, Innocent, Vijayaraghavan.
Paayum Puli (1983)
The Tamil martial arts film had Silk play Usha. The Rajinikanth starrer concluded a 133-day run at the box office. Silk and Rajinikanth together featured in the songs of the film including Aadi Maasa Kaathadikka and Vaa Vaa Maama.