Smita Patil was born in Pune into a Kunbi Maratha family to a Maharashtrian politician, Shivajirao Girdhar Patil and social worker mother Vidyatai Patil, from Shirpur town (Village-Bhatpure) of Khandesh province of Maharashtra State. She studied at Renuka Swaroop Memorial high school in Pune.
Considered to be the best Indian actress of her generation together with Shabana Azmi.
Besides Hindi, she also worked in her mother tongue Marathi & did some Bengali, Kannada & Malayalam films too.
Art films were her forte but she also proved her capability by acting opposite Amitabh Bachchan in commercial films like Namak Halal & Shakti (both released in 1982) and signing films of various genres opposite Superstar Rajesh Khanna consistently in 1980-1987 period and giving hits with Rajesh Khanna.
Rajesh Khanna-Smita Patil were paired together in 6 successful super-hit films.
Her first tryst with the camera was in the early 1970s as a television newsreader on the newly transmitting Mumbai Doordarshan, the Indian government run broadcaster.
She was an alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. In 1977, she won the National Award for 'Best Actress' for her performance in the Hindi film Bhumika. In her films, Patil's character often represents an intelligent femininity that stands in relief against the conventional background of male-dominated cinema (films like Bhumika, Umbartha, and Bazaar). Smita Patil was a women's rights activist and became famous for her roles in films that portrayed women as capable and empowered.
Won the National Award for her sensitive portrayal in Bhumika (1977) at the age of 21 being one of the youngest recipients.
One child by Raj Babbar; her son Prateik was born 28 November 1986. She died two weeks after her son's birth due to complications