Anthony Eastman, the director who turned Andhra Pradesh's Vijayalakshmi into Kerala's heartthrob Smitha with his film Inaye Thedi, tells Sify.com that the actress remained true to her friends, despite all her fame and fortune. Excerpts from a conversation:
During the shoot of her first film, Smitha was this gullible, innocent child who would do whatever you asked her just the way you wanted her to.
She was Vijayalakshmi then. She told me we could call her Vijayamala. But I said I would give her a whole new name. She agreed.
I had (actress) Smita Patil in mind when I gave her the name Smitha.
'Smitha,' she kept repeating to herself. Happily. She seemed to like the name.
Smitha never forgot where she came from.
At one stage in our careers, when she was at her peak and I was down in the dumps, our paths crossed in Madras.
She was then acting in Mr Pandian with Rajinikanth.
I was on the next floor. I decided to drop by her flat to say hello.
She was sitting next to Rajinikanth. She jumped up when she saw me, and called for a chair.
She was excited, and we had a lot of catching up to do. She ordered tea.
Rajini kept glancing at me, with a "Who-the-hell-is-this" look.
I felt a little awkward and a little insignificant, because she had become such a big star by then. But Smita continued talking, letting none of it matter.
Translated from Malayalam by Sarita Ravindranath
Original Text: Moviebuzz