A popular and highest-paid Indian actress of her time, Divya Bharti worked primarily in Hindi and Telugu films. Her acting ability and offscreen persona have been highly praised by both her co-stars and critics alike.
Divya, born on 25 February 1974 in Mumbai to Om Prakash Bharti and Meeta Bharti, had a younger brother Kunal and a half-sister Poonam. Her cousin is actress Kainaat Arora. She fluently spoke Hindi, English and Marathi and was known for her bubbly personality and doll-like looks. Divya was an active student at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu where she completed the 9th standard before embarking on an acting career.
While working on the set of Shola Aur Shabnam, Divya met director-producer Sajid Nadiadwala through actor Govinda, and the two married on 10 May 1992 in Bombay in a private ceremony. According to reports, she converted to Islam. The marriage was kept secret to protect her film career.
On the 5th of April in 1993, Divya plummeted from the fifth-floor windowsill of her apartment in Bombay. Neeta and her husband Shyam, Divya’s maid Amrita Kumari and those living nearby swiftly sprang into action; they rushed her to Cooper Hospital’s emergency room, yet to no avail. Only 19 years old, she was pronounced dead due to severe head trauma and internal bleeding. Her funeral rites were conducted two days later on 7 April at Vile Parle crematorium in Bombay with questions looming as to what could have possibly driven her to such fatal measures. The mysterious circumstances of Divya’s death have spawned a number of conspiracy theories since her death.
The roles she hadn’t completed included Mohra (played by Raveena Tandon), Kartavya (played by Juhi Chawla), Vijaypath (played by Tabu), Dilwale (played by Raveena Tandon), and Andolan (played by Mamta Kulkarni). At the time of her death, she had already begun filming Laadla, which was reshot with Sridevi in the role.
Prior to her demise, Divya wrapped up shooting for Rang and Shatranj; the two were brought out in theatres on 7 July 1993 and 17 December 1993 respectively and they were met with moderate success. A dubbing artist had to be employed as she never got a chance to dub for both films. As for Tholi Muddhu- her incomplete Telugu movie – actress Rambha finished her scenes; being somewhat similar in features to Bharti, she was used as a body double for the leftovers. This too came out in October 1993.
Shah Rukh Khan shared the screen with her in Deewana and Dil Aashna Hai, going as far as to say, “…one of the finest actresses I have ever worked with is Divya Bharti.” Suniel Shetty was similarly effusive: “I’ve not come across anyone who has had such immense talent as Divya Bharti. The way she’d perform so perfectly despite goofing around before shooting – it made me forget my own lines!” Actress Karishma Kapoor gave her tribute too; “She was so wonderful in Deewana.. couldn’t take my eyes off! We really miss her a lot.” Chunky Panday added that she was “chulbuli” (bubbly) and full of life and energy whenever they worked together on Vishwatma.
Govinda believes that Juhi, Kajol and Karisma all occupy different places since Divya had a unique kind of charm. Her talent was an extraordinary gift from the gods which could not be imitated by any actor, no matter how hard they tried. She possessed an untamed, wild essence that instantly attracted viewers. Guddu Dhanoa, who directed Deewana alongside Divya, noted that Bollywood has felt her absence deeply and that this gap will remain unfilled. Archana Puran Singh paid tribute to the actress on social media with a caption mentioning her sorrowful reaction to news of her death.
Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan have both mentioned Divya Bharti in some of their interviews as a new-generation artist. “Divya Bharti is one of the 90s actresses Varun would have liked to work with.” Anushka Sharma has said, “After watching her songs, I became a huge fan.” I danced to almost all of her songs, especially ‘Saat Samundar’. My mother didn’t tell me about her death for about a week because she knew I would break down.
Dev Anand made the movie Chargesheet in 2011, which was loosely based on her death.
Divya Bharti’s sudden demise was a shock to the entire film industry, and her fans still mourn her loss to this day. Her memory lives on through her films and the impact she had on Indian cinema. Divya Bharti’s legacy continues to inspire aspiring actors and actresses in India. Her talent and dedication to her craft are remembered by many, and her untimely death was a huge loss to the film industry.
DIVYA BHARTI’S FILMS
|1991||Dil Ka Kya Kasoor|
|1992||Shola Aur Shabnam|
|1992||Jaan Se Pyaara|
|1992||Dil Hi To Hai|
|1992||Dil Aashna Hai|