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THE DREAM




1.The Mystery behind Divya's Death
- ARUNA & SALEEM (MOVIE MAG. MAY 1993)

It was no age to die
It was no way to die.

On the night of April 5, around 11.45 p.m., a just turned 19 Divya Bharti played her last dangerous game with death. precariously perched on the ledge below the window of her fifth floor Versova apartment, she slipped... and embraced a blood-soaked end. Besides the dull thud as she hit the ground, the only scream people recall was from the three horrified witnesses in her flat - Divya's dress designer Neeta Lulla, Neeta's psychiatrist husband, Shyam Lulla and Divya's faithful maid, Amrita - as they hurtled panic stricken down the stairs.

Unconsciously, but still breathing, Divya was rushed to a hospital -but in vain (see An Eyewitness Account). Her fast fading pulse stopped altogether and Cooper hospital's chief Medical Officer, Dr Tripathi announced her "dead". Even as they reeled under the impact of the shock, the three witnesses were hounded by the Press and the police for a conclusive statement. But after a few tight lipped comments they clammed up, leaving the field open for rife speculations and rumours.

The night pieced together... ironically, if Divya had followed her schedule, she wouldn't have been in Bombay on the Monday night that ended her life. she'd returned from Madras on Sunday morning and was supposed to leave for Hyderabad the same day. But on a Whim she decided to stay back in Bombay. little did she know that this delay would cost her her life.

On Monday night she returned home to Sajid's Versova flat with brother Kunal in tow, happy that she'd decided a Bandra (Neptune building) flat for her parents to shift into. Sajid was at home but left on home pretext soon afterwards. Divya's brother Kunal left next. Divya was leaving for Hyderabad the next day (and thereafter to Mauritius for Sajid's film- Andolan) and so she called over her designer friend, Neeta Lulla and her husband Shyam Lulla. When they came she had already been drinking. (According to Inspector J.G.Jadhav,the reports that she'd drunk three pegs of Mauritian rum are baseless because the rum bottle was still full; but there was a whisky bottle that was a little empty).

What happened next is en-capsuled within Dr. Shyam Lulla's terse statement:"We were watching video. Divya was talking to her maid. she had been drinking. She walked towards the window and sat on the ledge below. Everything happened in a matter of seconds. Before we knew it, she was falling. We saw her falling and ran down. i think it was an accident."

The families - both Divya's and Sajid's are anxious to corroborate Mr. Lulla's statement. The police say they've left the case open for investigation. because suspicion that it was suicide refuses to go away. The film industry is well aware of the highly-strung, wild reputation that Divya had. People still remember her alleged suicide attempt after being dropped from Govinda's Radha Ka Sangam. Producer Pehlaj Nihalani, who was instrumental in her success says,"She had this habit of joking around and say that she would cut her veins with pieces of glass or broken bottles. This feels as though she tried to prove her joke right."

Divya's penchant for living life on the razor's edge is confirmed by her Deewana producer Raju Kothari too.'we had gone to Ooty for the shooting of Deewana. There's this place called 'Lamb's Rock' which has two rocks and a deep valley in between. Divya jumped from one rock to  another without the slightest fear and hesitation. she asked me to do the same - but I just couldn't." This trait of flirting with danger may be responsible for Divya's death being seen as a suicide. Contributing is her known stormy relationship with her mother, Meeta Bharti.

Divya's decision to have a registered marriage with Sajid was seen as an act of rebellion by her mother whose dream was to make her daughter into a superstar. Though Divya indulged her mother she yearned for affection."My mother forgot my birthday,"Divya had told MOVIE."Pehlajji found out two days later and threw a party for me." Her mother never let Divya acknowledge the marriage publicly. Even when a friend of Divya accompanied Sajid to Tirupati, the mother kept insisting that it wasn't a trip to seek blessings as "my Divya is not married to him." ten months after her marriage, the reins of divya's finances still remained in her mother's hand. A professional gambler,(even on the night of the event Mrs. Bharti was reportedly at a card session), a club member who has often sat on the same card table as her says, "She would often call Divya up and ask her to reach some money. Mrs. Bharti is an excellent player, but everybody has their bad phases."
The conflict between the mother and the daughter often led to flare-ups with Sajid as he was the bone of contention.

Yet another story being circulated is of the Sajid's underworld connections and Divya's being deeply disturbed by it's implication's especially in the current situation, where the police is really tightening it's grip on the underworld and it's associates. Though in this case the police(right from the Bombay commissioner of Police, A.S.Samra)seem to be inclined towards calling it an accident, a lot of details sound sketchy upon cross examination. MOVIE met the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Arup Patnaik

So far our investigation indicate an accident.Divya got down to sit on the ledge below the window.It's quite amazing how she managed to sit there. She was facing the wall. Anyway, she slowly kept moving till she reached the other end and turned to face inwards. I think it was at that time that she lost her balance and fell.

Was she drunk?What does the coroner's report say?
Whether she was highly drunk or not is a technical term and will be known to us only after we get the medical reports. It's confirmed that she had consumed alcohol before the fall but how much, we don't know.

Is there no conclusive evidence saying it was an accident?
Not yet, it'll take sometime for the formalities like chemical analysis report, post-mortem report etc. to get over before we come to a definite conclusion.

How long will it take for the report to be ready?
I think it's ready but I still haven't had time to go through it since I have been tied up with a lot of other cases.

Can I see the post-mortem report?
You see, there's lot of confusion right now because she was a celebrity. In order to avoid more complications we don't show the reports to anybody.

What statements of Neeta and Shyam Lulla have been recorded?
I'm sorry, i cannot divulge the information, the matter has gone to court!

Is there a difference in the way a person falls depending on whether it's a suicide or an accident?
See, there's no exact position as to how one fall after a suicide or an accident. When one contemplated suicide, the idea is to die. but when in the act, an automatic instinct of survival comes into you, you try to save yourself and while doing this you go on a spin also. Finally whether Divya Bharti deliberately went on the ledge to commit suicide, we don't know. But the act which she did was not a normal act.

For all this evasiveness, Mr Patnaik seems to have hit the nail on the head in his last line. Crossing your window sill and sitting on the ledge below and that too in a state of drunkenness is certainly not a normal act. That resultant death has to fall in the grey area between accident and suicide. Divya loved flirting with the idea of death. this time too the rush of adrenalin that goes with it, might have motivated her to wards the window. She'd done it before. Only this time the decision- whether to go all the way or not - might have been simply snatched away from her. Accident or suicide - perhaps finally even Divya didn't know which of the two it was.