Friday, 2 December 2011

Silk Smitha

Watching the promos and posters of the movie The Dirty Picture and the claims made by the makers, that it is based on the life and times of Silk Smitha, the sexy siren from south, one can't help remembering her.
There she was, providing visual delight and igniting the male fantasy of the repressed  and depressed Indians. She was termed as vulgar, crass and an exhibitionist. But everybody wanted to have a peep and if possible a piece of her. Those were the times when zero size was not in vogue. Compared to the present day wonders built on starving, dieting, body sculpting, botox jobs and the generous use of silicones, the raw and earthy appeal of Silk Smitha will remain an eternal hit. She was mind blowing, period. The curves were feminine, not in coyness or capitulation but as a challenge to male virility. It was a fire which burned the senses but never torched the heart. Women hated her and called her names. The eyes darkened with kohl, the full lips and the oily makeup only enhanced her raw sensuality and made people uncomfortable in their pants. Such was her effect.

People from my generation will definitely have a vivid recollection of her. I remember noticing her first in the photographs in the now defunct SUNDAY  magazine, then edited , initially by M.J.Akbar and later by Veer Sanghvi. They had a special page devoted to southern films. Of the South Indian actors mentioned there at those times, four became very familiar, later to the northerners too. KamalHasan, Rajnikanth, Sridevi and off course Silk Smitha.

But Silk Smitha was different from the others. She never got the respectability from media or the masses. People treated her like an object of desire, to satiate their hidden and forbidden dreams in a carnal fantasy . Just think of it once, how does it feel when you know that whenever a male is looking at you , or even your photograph, it is either with an open or suppressed urge to have your body. No love, no respect , not even a simple friendship or fellow feeling from all the people around. No wonder, her life ended tragically in a suicide. Bold she was no doubt, but ultimately not brave enough to face the reality or chose another option to live. Life may have given her all the adulation, all the attention she may have craved for but also converted her body into a commodity, which she had to bare, day in and out for the voyeurs.

Nobody may have cried for her. None may remember her as a normal human being. All that we may have with us are the recollection of a voluptuous woman who would make our heart race with her presence on screen . Curse her, castigate her, run her down but there is no denying that there is a bit of Silk Smitha  in every one of us. Shameless, exhibitionist, vulgar, self deprecating  and with a up in your face attitude. We like to cover it with our values and the cloak of morality. But then who are we to pass moral judgement on others when everyday we are ourselves making so many compromises and selling ourselves for some personal gains, either directly or indirectly.

Everyone used her,compromised her for their own interests and to mint money. Today also the movie being released is using her name to sell itself with high voltage publicity and promotion. I will also watch the movie.There is no shame in accepting lust as an integral part of our life. It happens to everybody and it is natural. Denial of it in yourself is unnatural. I am not sure whether the movie will ultimately do justice to her and bring out her personality for us to stop for a moment and remember her , not with the uncontrolled and burning primal desire but with the respect which a fellow human being deserves to have been a small, hidden, dark and maybe a closed chapter of our life.

Wherever she may be, may her soul rest in peace....................................

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