Silk Smitha (December 2, 1960 – September 23, 1996) was a South Indian cinema actress. Even though Smitha appeared in some character roles, she became popular through her glamourous appearances in softcore films.
Born Vijayalakshimi into a poor family in Eluru (in Andhra Pradesh), she left school after the fourth standard, determined to become a film star. Moving in with her aunt in Madras (then the centre of the South Indian film industry), she soon found a sponsor who renamed her Smitha. After garnering much notice and acclaim with her first major role, in the Tamil movie Vandi Chakkaram (The Wheel), in 1979, Smitha assumed the name "Silk," after her character's name in the movie.
Silk Smitha went on to star in over 200 Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and a few Hindi films. Her dance numbers and her bold performances in films like Moondru Mugam have made her the ultimate symbol of sensuality in Tamil, Kannada. Malayalam and Telugu cinema. Her item numbers in films like Amaran were also celebrated at the box office. Some film critics, historians and journalists have referred to her as a "soft porn" actress. One of her films, Layanam, has earned a cult status in the Indian adult film industry, and was remade as Reshma ki Jawani. Silk Smitha's most respected film is Moondram Pirai, remade as Sadma that starred Sridevi.
In 1996, Smitha was found dead in her Chennai apartment. In the previous year she had tried to shift career in order to become a film producer. Financial problems, a disillusionment in love and an alcohol dependency apparently led to depression. It is suspected that Smitha committed suicide.