REMINISCENCES : Remembering Divya Bharti

"22nd January 1992. The premiere of the much awaited 'Vishwatma'.While the rest of the stars mingled with each other, Divya Bharti the teenage heroine stood in a corner, with a smile stuck on her face. Divya Bharati was a bundleof nerves. Anxious and excited about the fate of the film.

Divya Bharti had many reasons for wanting the film to be a success. She had prayed fervently for the film to be a hit. Nothing could go wrong now at least. But little did she know what was coming her way. All her high hopes came crashing down with a thud, by the time she finished watching the film. Her role had been at the receiving end of the merciless scissors. And the film was not what she had expected it to be.

Divya was dazed. For all her dreams had been shattered into smithereens. All her ambitions had come towards a dead end. And the most important thing was that now, she had to forget all about her sweet revenge she wanted to take. She was terrified. Because she knew, she was still going to be held captive by her parents and detractors. Now there was no way out. 

Because the past had nothing but raw wounds and life-long scars to boast of. Divya could not forget those years of loneliness and solitude. When all she had craved for was attention and love. Which was rightfully hers but she was denied. She was almost Iike an outsider in her own house, unloved, unwanted, criticized. That is why she felt so strongly the need to prove herself. Maybe they would accept her if success was hers. Maybe they would love her a little more. And that is why she had wanted success desperately. To entangle herself from the rut she was trapped in. But it looked like dame fortune was not too happy with her. Divya still had hope. There was one more film coming her way. She expectantly waited for seven more days. But 'Dil Ka Kya Kasoor' only opened to empty houses. And Divya withdrew herself into the protective safety of her self-built cocoon. She was shattered for life.

The brave front that she still put on was nothing but a facade. When I met her, she looked ravishing in a black midi, sans make-up. The smile on her face however did not reach her eyes, "I am disappointed. And naturally so. But ups and downs are a part of life and you have to take it with a pinch of salt. I really wanted 'Vishwatma' to do better than 'Tridev'. But it didn't. Though of course I've no complains about the length of my role in the film. C'mon, the film was being made on such a big canvas and there were so many other stars. what has disturbed me more is the failure of 'Dil Ka Kya Kasoor'. I had not expected it to bomb so badly. Anyway, what had to happen has happened. Yeah, I did take the failure badly but my tears are not going to get people to the theatres. I wanted to prove myself. But I've fallen flat on my face. Now, I have to begin my climb all over again. Yet I'm positive that one day success will be mine. The day when I'll have the last laugh," she stated hopefully.

However there was no denying that her career had suffered a major set-back because of the two failures. Added to it the rumours of her unprofessionalism, of her harassing her producers, being unpunctual and of taking years over her dubbing had punctured her reputation even further. No wonder producers now shied away from working with her. The loss undoubtedly was hers. Still everything was not over, provided she decided to mend her ways before it was too late. She smiled sadly, brushing aside a lock of hair from her forehead, she said dejectedly, "Everyone has a wrong opinion about me. They are all ready to crucify me without really bothering to know the real me. Unprofessional and me? Tell me if I was not professional enough how would I have given six hits down South? If I was troubling people then why would the producers still want to sign me? I have the right to decide whether or not I should do a film. I have no arguments, date hassles, and no problems with any of my producers.

"Producers and directors should know how to tackle a star, to get the best out of them. If somebody is good to you, you feel like doing more things for them. The incentive should be there. Yes, I admit where my dubbing is concerned, I have a genuine problem. I can dub only after twelve in the afternoon or late at night because in the mornings my voice is very husky. If I'm shooting late in the night then I do avoid dubbing because I get tired. Let me make it very clear that none of my producers have had a problem with me so far. I completed the dubbing of both 'Vishwatma' and 'Shola Aur Shabnarn* in a span of five to six days. I think I did a pretty good job of it. "I fail to understand why people think that I'm not serious about my work. That I'm here only for a lark. Is it because I joke and laugh on the sets? Being arrogant and maintaining a distance does not really mean that a person is serious about his or her work. This is ridiculous yaar. I believe in being happy-go-lucky and spreading laughter. Tears and sadness are meant only for you alone. You cannot share your grief with everyone," she pointed out wisely. 

Undoubtedly the wisdom and maturity belied her age. Perhaps it had to do something with her traumatic childhood. Especially since her father O.P. Bharati had left his ancestral home, parents, wife and kids to marry another woman. Yes, Divya's mother was his second wife. But the first wife continued to haunt Divya's home. She raved, ranted and cursed them. And it worked, for apparently the Bharati household was never a happy one. Divya grew up in an atmosphere of constant bickerings and quarrels. Ugly fights between her parents were the order of the day.

Her parents got so entangled in the web of their own making that they had just no time for Divya. To add to it was her father's weakness for the bottle, which only ended up making matters worse at home. At the age of ten when girls of her age were still playing with Barbie dolls, Divya had already grown up. She had made up her mind to become economically independent and walk out of her parents' home as soon as she could. By the time she had stepped into her teens, she had turned into a beautiful woman. And before she knew what was happening,Kirti Kumar landed up at her doorstep with the offer of 'Radha Ka Sangam'.

Wasn't it also true that it were her parents who had forced her to take the step of joining the big bad world of films? Because her father himself was small time stage artiste, but unfortunately he was unsuccessful in films. Now he saw the opportunity of fulfilling all his ambitions through his daughter. And secondly, Divya was going to be the golden goose, who would end all their monetary problems.

She listened to every word, thought about it with her head bent down and playing nervously with her hands. And then, when she looked at me, tears had brimmed up in her eyes. Then taking control of herself, she revealed nervously. "I had a very happy and normal childhood. In a way, yes, I was forced into films. But at that time, circumstances were beyond anyone's control. I wanted to be independent. I detested studies and films was the only alternative for me. My father and grandfather did object initially but I still went ahead, I was adamant. Look I'm not ashamed of anything in life especially my past. Yet frankly speaking I wish this part of my life could be avoided, I don't want to talk about it. It is too personal and private.

"All I will say is that my relationship with my parents is still the same. I mean I am very close to them. Yes, it is true that my dad had another wife and my mother is his second wife. So what? There are ups and downs in everyone's lives and I'm no exception. However, my dad had got divorced much before he married my mother. But the kids from his previous marriage grew up with us. I am very close to both my step-sister and step-brother. They were staying with us till they got married. Even now I still meet them often. They come home on weekends. Where my stepmother is concerned then that is a taboo topic. We have never ever discussed her at home or otherwise. My dad does drink but rarely...,"she took a long pause and then finally said, "he has never ever created a scene. This talk about him is all rubbish".

But there was no denying the fact that Divya had grown up with a feeling of neglect. Why, only last year she had told a colleague of mine sadly, "It was my birthday and nobody remembered it at home. My best friend Ushmi had got a cake for me, we sat in my room to cut it. When my mother opened the door, she saw the cake. But she was too preoccupied. She did not bother. Two days later Pahlaj's got to know of it and he even had party for me at China Garden but it was not the same."

That was not all. Her mother, it is believed, is too involved in her kitty parties. Cards have taken precedence over her love for her children. She is so heavily into the game that sometime back she had even got into a financial mess because of this. When she failed to return the money that she owed, a group of goons had actually landed up at a suburban club where she was and threatened her with dire consequences if she did not return the booty.

Apparently it was because of this attitude, that Divya had started seeking attention outside. According to most industry was her childish behaviour was only a facade to get attention. But all people didn't like the way she behaved. One of her heroes Armaan Kohli even found her childish and immature and made no bones about his dislike for her.

Fighting hard to control the flow of tears she said, "I really don't want to talk about all this. I wish people would leave me alone, and stop talking such nonsense about me. Yes, my parents had forgotten my birthday last year but they remembered it the next day. What I was talking about then was the eve of my birthday. My dad was sick and my mom was busy with my brother's lessons," she paused, contemplated and then continued, "Most kids tend to misunderstand their parents and their behaviour. But I guess whatever the parents do, it is with the best interest for their children. My parents have always made me understand and see things clearly. They have never shouted or raised their hands on me. We are more like friends.

"My mom loves playing cards. What's wrong? She enjoys it. Anyway she plays it only with a sophisticated group of ladies. Where this incident is concerned, my mom was not involved. No, it was not her. Anyway, she has never neglected her home andkids. Believe me, we are a very happy and close knitted family," she stated with a finality in her tone.

Then she looked at me straight in the eye and said, "I really don't know why everybody is after me. Tell me what is wrong if I behave my age. I'm only seventeen. Naturally Armaan Kohli will find me immature because he is twenty-eight. He is so much older than me, even my grandmother still thinks that I'm a kid. I'm fedup of all the gossip and controversies. I fail to understand why people tend to misunderstand me.

"Just when my career had started looking up, there were this vicious rumours about me being on drugs. According to them, I'm supposed to be on drugs for the past three years. If I was on drugs then instead of being like a rolypoly elephant. I would have just vanished by now. Then there were rumours of me wanting to get married to Sajid. And I still have to understand the absurdity of the entire situation. What is the hurry yaar? I'm going to be eighteen now, age is on my side. Let me enjoy my career for another three-four years.

"Of course, then there was this thing about Amita Nangia in a magazine. How could I've snatched Sajid from her? I swear that I never asked her to share Sajid with me. Even If I had then it just proved that I loved him so much that I didn't even mind sharing him. Shit yaar, I would not like to get involved in such talk ever again. Thankfully for me, I have never hidden anything from my parents. I have been open about everything in my life. Things have started looking up for me. I've got Sajid and even "Shola Aur Shabnam' is carrying good reports. I just hope that everything good will happen to me. I don't want anyone spoiling things for me."

Let's say Amen to that After all she deserves the best now.

— Nilufer Qureshi


"When I decided to sign her everyone thought I was mad. She worked even with 102 degrees temperature. At times she's like a ziddi brat and you have to deal with her patient, indulgent parent. I had to really pamper her" - Raj Kanwar.

"She's the most promising newcomer. She had all that our audiences go for- wide -eyed innocence, a perfect figure and all the jatkas and matkas. Even of her next four or five films flop her fans will remain with her and that makes her a favorite with the distributors" - Pehlaj Nihlani.

"She got thrown out of so many films, so many people treated her badly, it would have embittered anyone. Now she's a star she wants to get even with these people" - Lawrence D'Souza.

"It's not just her talent or the will to slog that they are raving about but also her proficiency, her involvement in her work" - Talat Jani.

"We have been waiting for her a year. By now even Amitabh Bachchan would have given us the dates" - Sajid Nadiadwala 

Racing to the Top, Numero Uno' 1993 - Filmare, Jan 1993

"Among the Actresses- Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Divya will be the stars of 1993" - Sudharkar Bokade.

"Divya Bharti has the potential but her unprofessional attitude comes in her way. If she pays attention to her work she can go far" - Inder Kumar

"Divya Bharti should be a good bet if she has the right releases. When I saw her in Bobblili Raja i was impressed with her." - Ashok Thakeria

"Divya Bharti is also very cute, she been lucky with Shola aur Shabnam and Deewana" - R.K Nayyar

"Divya Bharti is the find of 92 and hopefully she wont fall short of expectations" - Mohan Kumar

"I feel Divya had the making of a No. 1 but I feel her career is no longer her priority" - Suraj Sanim

"Among the Girls Divya has good films and a lot of luck as her films have run" - Anil Sharma

"Divya Bharti is the one with potential among the newer lot." - Prakash Mehra

"Sridevi and Madhuri are also in similar positions, Those likely to compete with them are Divya Bharti and Juhi" - Yash Chopra

Divya Bharti's Ghost is Alive , The spirit that's Haunting Juhi and Kajol! - Showtime, February 1994

"Kajol and Divya Bharti have a lot in common their youth, vivacity, spontaneity" -Producer, Shabnam Kapoor

"If Divya Bharti have been alive, the best roles would have gone to her. Divya had everything- she was bubbly, a wonderful actress, a fabulous dancer and a good looker too. She had the combination of a beautiful face and sexy figure which no one else has. The way she was going, everybody would have been talking of only Divya and nobody else, I cant say who would've got or not got which roles, but if divya was there the roles would've been more divided, Divya has no replacement". -Director, David Dhawan

"Juhi, kajol and karisma are in different spot, Divya had a totally different kind of appeal from those three. what she had was natural and god given, if cannot be created by oneone, however much they may try. She had a raw, tamed, wild look about her which magnetised the audience" - Actor, Govinda

"There was nobody like Divya and there will be nobody alike her" - indo-British actor" - Saeed Jaffrey

"When Divya was Around, did anyone talk about Juhi, After Sridevi and Madhuri , Divya was the next and only choice of the producers - Meeta Bharati

"Who Says i copy Divya?, Yah i know I've replaced her opposite Ajay Devgan in Hulchul and the producer tells me that my bubbly nature reminds her of Divya" - Kajol

" It is strange that a girl who spend only three years in industry has become irreplaceable. Every filmmaker is trying to find another Divya Bharti, But no one fits. Everyone is hunting hard but there is not even a pale xerox of the vibrant original anywhere on the horizon. Until the ideal replacement arrives, divya's ghost is not alive and kicking." - Sujeta Garimella


"It's all rubbish yaar", she had exploded one hot, sultry, May afternoon, as I sat flipping through the pages of a Danielle Steele which she was reading. Suddenly I came across Sajid Nadiadwala scribbled boldly all over a page. I looked at her questioningly. "I'm having an affair with him", she admitted shyly. "He used to come to meet Govinda on the set and I used to see him just hanging around. 'Don't you do any work' was the first thing I spoke to him. Then he followed it up. But please don't write about it"."

(By Riyadha on posted on DBP facebook... )