Divya Bharti (दिव्या भारती) or Divya Bharati, was an Indian Bollywood Actress born on 25 February 1974 . Divya was a leading actress and ranked number 3 before her death. Merely at the age of 18, She was entitled the most popular actress in Bollywood preceding Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi. Divya made initiative with her career in 1990 with Telugu films making her debut in Bobbili Raja. She also gave other hits in the South before she was introduced into Bollywood mainstream by Rajiv Rai in 'Vishwatma' in 1992.
Though the movie performed average in the Box Office but she acclaimed a huge praise in her song Saat Samundar Paar which at the time became one of the biggest hit. During her career she appeared in more than 14 Hindi films in between 1992 and mid 1993. Most of her movies were successful and some of them became the biggest hit. She is the only actress to the date in Bollywood who did more than 14 movies in a year as a new comer. Additionally, she also had about two dozen of movies that she had been working with or had agreed to do. But her career was cut short by her tragic death after falling from a window ledge from a five story building in April 1993 at the age of 19. Her death is still mysteriously to this date. There are different accounts of what might have happened but due to the lack of evidences the investigation was closed in 1998.
Childhood, Family & Personal Life
Divya was born in Mumbai, India. Her father Omprakash Bharti was an insurance officer, and Meeta Bharti, the second wife of Mr. Bharti, was a housewife. She had a younger brother Kunal. Divya's mother was a second wife of Omprakash Bharti. Divya went to the Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, Mumbai. There she completed till the grade 9th, until she was approached by some of the film makers. Divya didn't seem to be keen on acting during her school years. However, she used to participate during some fashion shows in the Ganapati festival here she had won many awards.
Divya was average in studies, but she excelled at extra-curricular activities. Divya and her brother were very good swimmers. They were the members of Khar Gymkhana and were entitled champion swimmers for the Mumbai's club. Divya was also an excellent driver and had learned to drive at age of fourteen.
Barely 16, Divya met Sajid Nadiadwala in 1990 at Filmcity, when Sajid dropped by the sets to Meet his friend Govinda. Divya was shooting with Govinda_Ahuja on the sets of Shola Aur Shabnam. It was Govinda who introduced Sajid to Divya. Soon, it became a routine for the unit to see Sajid on sets everyday.
As Sajid quotes in Movie June 1993 issue "Somewhere around 15 January 1992 Divya told me that she wanted to get married. The very next day she was tense because her name was being linked with all heroes. She wanted to marry and put an end to all these controversies. People expect me to have a relationship with everyone, she would complain.
Then on 20 May 1992. Divya got married to Sajid in the presence of her hairdresser Sandhya, the hairdresser's husband and a kazi at Tulsi apartments, Sajid's Versova residence. She converted to Islam and took on a new name, "Sanah". As Sajid quotes "We kept the marriage a secret because her career was at stake. Her producers would have panicked. In retrospect, I wish we had told the truth. Divya wanted to announce that we were married but i kept telling her to wait for a while. I wish I hadn't. Every time she saw the rushes of her films, she would sigh, "This will flop and people will ask me to quit". But that never happened, her films were hits. By the end of 1993, she would have completed all her assignments.
Carrer in Bollywood
Divya was in the only ninth grade when film makers and producers approached her and she was offered with films. One of the reason was many were convinced that she resembled Sridevi, the most successful actress of that time. In the beginning her parents denied as Divya was still too young and she too didn't seem interested. It was until Nandu Tolani who offered her with the Gunahon Ka Devta, when Divya admitted she would do it and her family too finally gave with the approval. Finally, it was the late 1988 and Divya was only 14 then, when she gave up the school and initiated her career in the film industries.
Meanwhile, Divya came to know through her that Dalip Shankar was lookiing for a new girl to cast opposite to Aamir Khan in 'Aatank Hi Aatank' and 'Rudra Avtaar'. With the permission from her parents, Divya signed both the films. During those time, Kirti Kumar, the film maker and producer and the brother of Govinda made notice about Divya at the video library. He followed Divya to her residence and then he called up the director Nandu Tolani and asked about Divya, who used to reside in the next building.
Since then Kirti Kumar was eager to sign Divya for his film Radha Ka Sangam opposite to Govinda. Kirti met personally with Dalip Shankar and requested him that he was interested to cast Divya for his film. Dalip was convinced and Divya was then decided for Radha Ka Sangam. Kirti had quoted in March 1989 in Showtime Magazine "I told Dalip that he could take any girl, but i'd never be able to find another Radha." Kirti changed her name from Divya to Radha. Kirti also launched her with much fanfare. He gave interviews on how he had found his perfect Radha after scouring the whole of India for her. But the tragedy struck for Divya when she was replaced by Juhi Chawla. Different Magazines had articles that mention her being dropped out from the films. Some people say "Kirti had became too possessive about her", while other argue that "Lawrence D'souza, who was to direct the film, had left the project." Since Kirti decided to take over the film, he later mentioned he wasn't confident with the new comers. Some magazine wrote the affair of Divya with Govinda was intolerable for Kirti so he got her out of his film. Few others wrote about Divya's immaturity and childishness.
Though he was out of the films but there were big names like Boney Kapoor, Mahesh Bhatt, Shabnam Kapoor, Shekhar Kapoor and Subhash Ghai who screen-tested her. However so one showed the courtesy to sign a film with Divya. They all raved about her but with the rumor about her childish reputation and being crazy and wild, no one signed her. In the meantime Boney Kapoor did try to sign her a film - Prem but eight days later she was replaced by Tabu. Later Subhash Ghai also called on Divya for his film Saudagar opposite to Aamir Khan but 20 days later both were replaced and Manisha Koirala and Vivek Mushram were signed in. She had been optimistic about the film and had waited for 2 long years and nothing came to her at the end. By this time, she had also given up the school. This was the time when Divya had seriously suffered mentally and physically. She had left the school for the films but there were no films now and on the other side she couldn't go back to school either. It was a trauma and the pain that gave the hardest hit to this very young girl.
Fortunately, D. Ramanaidu,one of the biggest producer of Telugu cinema, came up at Divya's doorstep and offered her Bobbili Raja, a telugu film opposite Daggubati Venkatesh. And not to long after Rajiv Rai also approached her for Vishwatma.
After being dropped out of so many Big Projects, Divya was depressed and left Mumbai. On the evening of her return, the producer of Bobbili Raja sent his men over. They wanted Divya to fly down the same night. As Divya quoted in the Nov 1991 "Movie" magazine, "I didn't want to go. I said no but mummy said yes. Imagine, the film became a super-hit and I became a superstar". The move paid off. Bobbili Raja released in the summer of 1990 became a colossal hit. She had captured the south by storm, and she was a goddess there. Even a temple was built in her name. With more hits, she had a big fame in Telugu cinema. Additionally, she figured next only to the indomitable Vijayshanti, In box-office rating. According to an insider, her pay had touched a whopping 25 Lakhs per film and 1 lakh per each additional day (If shooting postponed south producers were paying 15 lakhs for 15 days) , which was a huge amount in 1991. In Bollywood, such amount were only paid to Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi. In 1991, Divya gave big hits like Rowdy Alludu, Dharma Kshetram and Assembly Rowdy with Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and Mohan Babu. In Northern India, she was entiled as the Sridevi of Telugu films. She had success in the North and the South but there was something Divya was looking for. She wanted to make a big name in Bollywood. Then it was with with Vishwatma, she was back with confidence and determination. In a year she signed more than 14 films. Her waiting ... her hardwork and her talents were finally paid. With her success in Bollywood, and with a greater name however she still worked in South Films for her Telugu audience.
Rajiv was making the sequel to his Blockbuster film Tridev, When Divya heard that Rajiv Rai was on the lookout for a new face for his film Vishwatma opposite Sunny Deol, she confidently walked into his office with her portfolio. And the same day they signed the film. .
Divya Bharti with Sharukh, Hema Malini
The film was produced by Trimurti Films Pvt. Ltd, one of the biggest and oldest film production. It has put many now-superstars like Hema Malini in Johny Mera Naam and Amitabh Bachan in Deewar helping the artist to regain the fame. Vishwatma was launched in the late 1990 with grand mahurat and Dharamendra gave the mahurat shot. Soon Divya left for long outdoor shooting in Nairobi. When Divya returned back, film makers started to come to her pouring out film offers. Without even a single release, Divya had already signed 14 films. She was also known as Shahrukh Khan's leading lady as Shahrukh had co-stared with her in the films Deewana, and Dil Aashna Hai.
On 2 January 1992, it was a big day for Divya, she had actually many reasons for wanting the film to be successful, though vishwatma did do well however the film didn't succeed as anticipatedand was declared a flop. The premiere of Vishwatma was attended by Amitabh Bachan, Yash Chopra, Jackie Shroff, Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Chunky Pandey and many more artists and film makers. Although, the film was unsuccessful but the song "Saath Samundar Paar" was the limelight for the Divya's career in the Bollywood. The song became so popular people still cherish to listen to the song.
In was only seven days later, after the release of Vishwatma, that the Dil Ka Kya Kasoor was released. It was though to establish her as popular heroine but it was opened to empty theaters. Though the songs were hit but the overall film was a flop. Even though the film failed but Divya was noticed in the movie and her performance was appreciated. Although, the film failed to impress the audience, Filmfare magazines stated Diyva in the list of 1992 top ten best actressin performances. Surprisingly, Divya collapsed debut made a magazine headline, when many actress included Madhoo in Phool aur Kaante and Chandni in Sanam Bewafa super hit films didn't made them star, Divya's flops made her star. Divya defended herself by quoted, " I wanted to prove myself. But, I've fallen flat on my face. Now, I have to begun my climb all over again. Yet, I'm positive that one day success will be mine".
And, Thus Divya too was deleted from the ranks of the promising newcomers for a while. Then Pehlaj Nihlani's Shola Aur Shabnam came along. The film proved a box office hit and Divya was riding high again. Not only did it present Divya in a noble character, but also gave big boost to Govinda's career and launched David Dhawan as established director.
Four Months later, Raj Kanwar's love story Deewana became the biggest hit of 1992, where she held her own against veteran Rishi Kapoor and the debutant Shahrukh Khan, who later went on to become Bollywood superstar and an icon of Indian Cinema. With the super success of Deewana, Divya got rid of her promising newcomer status and entered the A-list. Her performance in Deewana was highly appreciated. Around that time, Divya's other films Balwaan, with Sunil Shetty, and Jaan Se Pyaara, with Govinda released and did well at the box office. By the end of the year, Hema Malini's Dil Aashna Hai released, in which Divya played a bar dancer, who was looking for her mother. Although the film was a box-office failure, her performance in the film was much appreciated by critics.
Suddenly, with big hits under her belt, Divya had become the hottest property in showbiz. And many predicted that she was poised to hit the number one slot not very far. In fact, In September,'Movie' magazines such as "Movie", "Stardust" an "Filmfare" put her at the 3rd position actress by the bases of price, popularity and position right after Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi. But, destiny had other plans, on the fateful day of 5 April 1993, Divya fell on the compound from her 5th floor apartment, She was only nineteen.
Films By Divya Bharti
Nila Penne (1990)
Bobbili Raja (1990)
Rowdy Alludu (1992)
Dharma Kshetram (1992)
Assembly Rowdy (1992)
Shola Aur Shabnam (1992)
Dil Ka Kya Kasoor (1992)
Jaan Se Pyaara (1992)
Dushman Zamaana (1992)
Dil Aashna Hai (1992)
Chittamma Mogudu (1993)
Tholi Muddhu (1993)
Naa Ille Naa Swargam (1993)
Dil Hi To Hai (1993)
Death & Aftermath
Around midnight 5 April 1993, Divya fell to her death off her husband's 5-storey apartment building, Tulsi 2 in Mumbai.There were numerous speculations by the media regarding Divya's sudden demise, including the possibility of accidental death, suicide and even murder. Divya's dress designer is believed to have been present at the apartment at the time of death but the unfortunate event could not be avoided. Police closed the investigation into her death in 1998, but the circumstances of her death still remain murky.
Her body was released on 7 April 1993 and the funeral took place the same day. About 500 people attended the funeral of then youngest heroine of the silver screen, including Anil Kapoor, Govinda, Kamal Sadanah, Raj Babbar, Yash Chopra, Jimmy Nirula, Sudhakar Bokade, Mukesh Duggal,Mahesh Anand, Aruna Irani, Raza Murad, Vikas Anand, Venkatesh, Ram Mohan, Javed Khan, Raj Kanwar, Nitin Manmohan and Pehlaj Nehlani, maker of her first hit, Shola aur Shabnam. A large number of film personalities, including Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri Urmila Matondkar, Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shirodkar, Sonu Walia, Somy Ali, Babita, Karisma Kapoor, Sangeeta Bijlani, Tabu, Manisha Koirala and Asha Parekh, offered condolences to the bereaved family members at their residence. Her family also stated in an interview if my daughter was taking drugs and drinking, how comes she completed 14 films within a year that shows how my divya doesnt drink or take drugs shes perfectly innocent and others too knows that she was a innocent bright talented girl.
She was scheduled to star in movies including Mohra, Laadla, Andolan, Angrakshak ,Kartavya (1995), and Vijaypath before her death; her roles were recast. Divya had almost completed 80% of Laadla before her death but the entire movie was redone with Sri Devi. and footage of her performance on scenes that she had completed was released years later. The movie would have released in 1993 had Divya completed the movie but it was eventually released in 1994.
Divya's two final completed films, Rang and Shatranj, were released months after her death. These films—in addition to several films produced by her husband Sajid Nadiadwala—were dedicated to her memory.
Do Kadam (1995)
Chal Pe Chal (1995)
End to Investigation of the Case
In 1998 they decided to close the case since it proved too difficult to find what had really happened for the real reason that caused her tragic death but till now her death remains a mystery and never be known of how she died but till today is remembered of her brilliant personality and acting and will never be forgotten.