Bollywood Nostalgia

Smita Patil and the art of hiding a heartbreak

Have we forgotten about her?

That one day when some of us were a little nostalgic about her, I found the social media obsessed with what is happening with Hrithik Roshan.

None on my timeline even remembered that on December 13, 1986, Bollywood lost one of its best talents ever – Smita Patil.

Even today there is a veil of mystery that surrounds her death.

Officially, it has been said that she died because of complications arising out of the birth of her only son.

However, different people at different points of time, have ascribed different reasons for her death.

Some years back, Smita Patil’s younger sister Manya Patil came on record and stated that she died because the people she loved most chose to break her heart.

Smita was a very emotional person who was too sensitive to the people around her. The constant criticism and the negativity thrown at her ultimately destroyed her, according to several reports that came out post her death.

Legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen had a different take on her death. In an interview published way back in 2005, Mrinal alleged that Smita died because of gross medical negligence. According to Mrinal Sen, the complications wouldn’t have happened in the first place if she was treated correctly by her doctor.

After her death, one heard about several wild allegations, some of which even suggested that Smita was murdered.

However, when her husband, Raj Babbar finally spoke out with much pain, he suggested that her condition deteriorated overnight. He said it was within days that she passed into a coma from having a simple fever.

Today, Smita Patil has gradually turned into a memory for some like us while for most she is a part of India’s history. I guess we will be the last generation who will still remember the actress as a person in flesh and blood.

The rest will remember her as a legend.

Veteran photographer NK Sareen who photographed Smita on different occasions said that she never needed to give an expression when she was being photographed.

“There are people who can speak with their eyes and Smita Patil was one of them. Smita would look at a person and convey everything,” NK Sareen says.

Look at the pictures closely that Sareen has clicked. Look into her eyes.

They will tell you exactly what she was feeling that day. Her eyes will tell you what was going through her mind.

Look closely into her eyes and it will speak of the pain that her fans-turned-haters made her go through by hurling abuses at her while she maintained a dignified silence after moving in with Raj Babbar.

Her eyes will speak about the pain that she endured after giving up so many big commercial projects for the sake of small-budget, good quality Indie films.

Her eyes will speak about the pain of not getting due recognition when she was alive.

I agree with Manya Patil. It is true that we broke Smita Patil’s heart.

But she never, never ever, spoke about the pain.

Perhaps, she had mastered the art of hiding a heartbreak.

All photographs are copyrighted to NK Sareen. To know more about NK Sareen, click HERE. 
To contact NK Sareen on his facebook page, click HERE. You may send him a mail at

7 replies »

  1. I was curious about Mamta Kulkarni, Anu Agarwal, and could have done with more details about Divya Bharti. You did all three.

    I was a huge fan of Smita Patil (although I’m one of those who don’t remember her in the flesh), and considered her to be very, very pretty. And now you’ve posted about her as well. How can I not be a recurring fan?

    Yeah, it’s unfortunate what happened to her, and the fact that the media has all but forgotten about her, but thing about movie stars is that they don’t die with their mortal demise. We’ll always remember her through her work. We might not mark her birthday or the anniversary of her death, but we’ll keep her alive through her work. Cheers.


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