Friday 9 December 2011

The "Dirty" Silk and the "Pure" Tinseltown!

Watching the trailer of Dirty Picture is a nightmare. And the reviews that speak volumes of Vidya Balan's beautiful portrayal as the sensuous diva irritate me. S..i...l...k...the very name that evokes passion, sexuality and arousal in men all over the nation! A skinny Vidya is no match to the voluptuous dusky beauty who had a generation gripped in sexual fervor. And the sensual 'aura' that emanates from Silk's eyes and pouted is a meek kitten, compared to the cougar! Sorry Vidya, you fail miserably...In that case, no woman can possibly touch the heights Silk's sexuality did!

During the peak "silk" era of 1980s, i was a mere baby. Still i can remember being told- 'an apple that Silk Smitha bit was auctioned for Rs.500 in a movie shoot'. Such was the charisma and charm she enthused in an otherwise mundane and glum South Indian movie industry. I remember i was told to close my eyes..ahem...while watching the "pon meni uruguthe" song from Moondram pirai, in the theatre! I was about six or seven then! Silk knew how to gyrate and sway, though she never was a great dancer. Husky and sensual singing of Janaki helped her carve a niche in Tamil movie industry. She knew how to twirl the men of the movie industry over her little fingers! There were men who waited at her doorstep, for her to simply wag her finger at them. Vijayalakshmi, fourth standard drop out from a dusty village near Eluru, AP, could have never scaled these heights, if not for men...
Picture courtesy
Being raped at 9 years, married to a waste to fend off molesters, Silk always nursed a secret dream of making it big in Kollywood. What not the way out than running away to Chennai? She started her reel life as a touch up girl to a B grader. Luckily, she played the 'man- snatcher', manipulating the paramour ( i wouldn't name him here:P) to land in a plump role in a Malayalam movie. Her first movie in Tamil "vandi chakkaram" ( 1979) earned her a huge name in movie industry. It gave her the name "Silk" too! She was one woman who knew her game and how to use her cards...It was after "moondram pirai" that earned her a cult status did she end up being typecast as "the other woman", a vamp all the time, dressed in skimpy bikinis and murdered in the climax scenes! Most movies that just had her performing a single 'item number' with mundane story lines became superhits. She was the MOTHER of all ITEM GIRLS! 

She was the peer to our Rakhi Sawants ( now there, i had my dig at her this time too:P) and probably Angelina Jolie learnt her pout from Silk Mamma! At the pinnacle of success, Silk charged Rs 50,000 for an item song. Imagine this was in mid 1980s when heroes down South were toiling for 20 or 30000 bucks a movie! There is no drug muckier than success and it was success that climbed to her head and brought her movie empire come tumbling like a pack of cards. Her subsequent fall from the top aided by fresh heroines who were ready to shed even bikinis at the drop of the hat and drug abuse is a rather sad story. Her probable suicide abetted by a love story gone wrong, lists her with the other young starlets who had unnatural deaths- Divyabarathi, Shoba, Savitri...

Though dead and gone, her sultry eyes, pesky pout and voluptuous frame shall always remain etched in the memories of a generation. All she has is my genuine sympathy and understanding. Which makes me ask the critical question- Is Silk Smitha an icon of women's sexuality misinterpreted and exploited by Kollywood's dark caverns or a vamp who 'used' the men who came her way? Further more, are women in Kollywood 'used' and 'exploited' mercilessly  by its men, as we go by general understanding?


  1. That was an engrossing read especially when there's so much hype surrounding Silk. I was dying to know who the superstar in her life was :)

    And Vidya will be on "Cloud Nine" after she reads that there exists a woman who thinks she's skinny!

    Was she a victim? I wouldn't know. I guess she used her sexuality to gain a foothold in the industry and look where it took her.

  2. @ Purba- Thanks for the comment, i wouldn't say who it was:P It is an open secret, the whole wide world knows;) Sad, her sexuality couldn't save her downward slide and her untimely death:(

  3. Vidya Balan is no mean actor by her own merit. But your sentence ".....Vidya is a meek kitten, compared to the cougar!...." sums up forcefully the heights(or depths) which Silk Smitha as an actor attained!!
    More than the content,I enjoyed the remarkable way you write, Cloudnine

  4. @ KP- thanks for the comment, hope you understood the exuberance of Silk when compared to Vidya:) And thanks for the compliment, happy that you like my writing:)

  5. well.. I really thought that she was a vamp of all time after watching dirty picture...
    yet after reading this, you did force me to think the other way round...
    but still.. its hard to decide whether she was a victim or a vamp...

  6. @ Madhulika- Thanks for your comment and understanding. That is how moviedom portrays women who are sensuous. Many called Silk a 'softcore' porn star. But i would like to state that she was exploited...Plain and simple!

  7. THANKYOU FOR WRITING THIS..i never knew so much abt silk smitha excet tht one song she did with mohanlal ..'EZHUMALA POONCHOLA'' something like'aadthoma' i guess :/

    And vidya is nowhr close to skinny but yeh noone can ever do justice to silk

  8. Thank God, I have heard too much about Vidya and too less about Silk who's supposed to have caused all the furor in the first place..

    It was a sad life she had, I think. There was success, yes, but not enough to make up for the sadness and desperation which led her to her demise.

    All I remember of her is my mother changing channels when one of her songs came on:P

  9. A very gripping read this, came to know so much about a lady who was all over the media these days. I think, she was a brave and bold woman who preferred making her own choices in life and I wonder if she ever regretted that...

  10. Parinitta was the only one movie which did justice to her as an actress, after that Vidya has become a kind of okay actor. The roles were not too good, nor her dress sense is good. She first needs a good designer and get rid of her old one. She has put on lot of weight.
    Actresses like Silk Smitha, Helen, Bindu were of a totally different class. They cannot be imitated, each of them had their own style.
    I am really waiting for a good movie from Vidya Balan, she is talented, but has not bagged the best roles.

  11. @ Redhanded- Thanks for the comment. Glad you younger gen have heard about her! Exactly right, no one can be compared to her:)

  12. @ Pee Vee- :P Imagining your mom changing channels with a bewildered you watching;) Yes, her personal life was a disaster, but she managed to keep her name still fresh in everyone's memory!

  13. @ Arti- Thank you for the comment. She might have regretted that she had to die uncared for, may be we would never know:(

  14. @ Rama- Thanks a ton for the comment. Yes, Vidya is still waiting for the big break, but being cast in B grade movies doesn't do her acting career justice...

  15. TDP was an entertaining watch. I am truly intrigued by Silk's character.

    As far as I could tell Vidya acted well. Of course no one can do justice to the real 'Silk' herself.

    ♡ from ©

  16. Back in my home country the song 'nethu rathiri yamma' became a hit purely because Silk was swaying and showing her curves!! Thanks for the insight. I had always wanted to know more about this actress/dancer.


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