Divya Bharti Biography
Divya Bharti (Hindi: दिव्या भारती), (February 25, 1974 - April 5, 1993) was an Indian actress. She started her career in 1990 with Telugu films making her debut in Bobbili Raja. After several other hits in the South she entered Hindi films with 'Vishwatma' in 1992. She appeared in more than 14 Hindi films that year which was considered a record at the time for a newcomer. Her career was tragically cut short by her death in April 1993 at the age of 19
Early life and background
Divya was born in Mumbai, a daughter of Omprakash Bharti, an insurance officer, and Meeta Bharti, a housewife. Divya Bharti had a younger brother Kunal. Divya's mother was a second wife of Omprakash Bharti.
Divya Studied at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, Mumbai. There, Divya completed grade 9th. She attended Meneckji cooper high school, in same era as Today's popular actors Farhan Akhtar and Rani Mukherji attended. Divya was an average in studies and she was not keen on acting during her school years. However, She used to take part in fashion shows during the Ganapati festival and she won many awards for this, while still in school.
Divya was not good in studies, but she excelled at extra-curricular activities. Divya and her brother were very good swimmers. They were champion swimmers for the Mumbai's club called Khar Gymkhana. Divya was also an expert driver. She learned to drive at age of fourteen.
Divya was in the ninth grade when she began to get film offers. Her face resembled to those days superstar Sridevi got noticed by many directors and producers. At first her parents were hesitant, because even Divya wasn't interested. Till Nandu Tolani offered her Gunahon Ka Devta. Finally, Divya was agree to enter in showbiz, when her mother told her that she would have to give up her studies, she got so excited. Divya was 14 and-a-half then, In late 1988.
Meanwhile, the Bharti learned via a friend that Dalip Shankar wanted a new girl opposite Aamir Khan in Aatank Hi Aatank and Rudra Avtaar. By her parents permission, Divya signed both films. During those time,Kirti Kumar, Govinda's brother noticed the charming Divya at video library. He followed her to her residence and then he called up the director Nandu Tolani, who resides in the next building and asked about Divya.
Radha Ka Sangam Episode
Next thing the Bhartis knew was that Kirti Kumar was eager to sign Divya for Radha Ka Sangam opposite Govinda. Kirti went personally to meet Dalip Shankar and managed to release her from their contract. Kirti quoted in March 1989 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. Producer Kirti launched her with much fanfare. He gave interviews on how he had found his perfect Radha after scouring the whole of India for her. And then before the first shot was taken, Divya "Radha" Bharti was out of the film after grooming for two years and replaced by Juhi Chawla. The reasons each side gave for the fall-out were different. Various Magazines wrote different things behind dropped out. Some said "Kirti became over-possessive about her", other said "Lawrence D'souza, who was to direct the film, left the project. Then Kirti decided to take over the film. Being new to direction, he had to drop Divya because he felt he could not handle a newcomer", other magazine wrote "Divya entangled with Govinda and Kirti couldn't tolerated that. Other wrote "It was Divya's immaturity, which made her Dropped out of film.
And that was the green signal for other film makers to enter the fray. She was screen-tested by big names Boney Kapoor, Mahesh Bhatt, Shabnam Kapoor, Shekhar Kapoor and Subhash Ghai. They all raved about her but no one signed her, there were rumor that it was her childish reputation had preceded her. In magazines, she had earned a name for being wild and crazy. In fact, for his big budget film Prem, Boney Kapoor signed Divya. Eight days later, Divya was out and Tabu was re-signed. Later Subhash Ghai too called her for Saudagar opposite Aamir Khan and 20 days later she was out and he signed Manisha Koirala and Vivek Mushram. By then, the rejection had affected fifteen years old Divya. Since she was already out of school, they would not accept her back. As result, she was forced to sit idle. Fortunately, One of the biggest producer of Telugu cinema, D. Ramanaidu landed up at Divya's doorstep. He offered Divya , Bobbili Raja, a telugu film opposite Daggubati Venkatesh. Immediately, Divya got a Tamil Film and Rajiv Rai approached her for Vishwatma.
Rise to Stardom in Telugu Cinema
After dropped out of so many Big Projects, Divya got 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 superhit and i became a superstar". The movie paid off. Bobbili Raja released in the summer of 1990 and became a colossal hit. She had captured the south by storm, she was a goddess there. Even a temple had been built in her name. With more hits, She was became a big name in Telugu Cinema. In box-office rating, she was figured next only to the indomitable Vijayshanti. Her price according to insider, had touched whopping 25 Lakhs per film and 1 lakh per one day extra (If shooting postponed south producers was paying 15 lakhs for 15 days) , which was a big amount in 1991. In Bollywood, Only Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi was getting those kind of price. In fact, in 1991 Divya gave back to back hits including Rowdy Alludu, Dharma Kshetram and Assembly Rowdy opposite superstars of telugu cinema including Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and Mohan Babu. In north india, she known as the Sridevi of Telugu films. But, that was not what Divya was looking for. She wanted to make it big in Mumbai. And she was back with fresh determination. Meanwhile, She didn't wanted to disappoint her Telugu audience and she was cut down to do one movie per year.
Rise to Stardom in Bollywood
When Divya heard that Rajiv Rai was on the lookout for a new face for his film Vishwatma opposite Sunny Deol, she daringly walked into Rajiv Rai's office with her portfolio. And the same day signed the film. Rajiv was making the sequel to his Blockbuster film Tridev. The film was produced by Trimurti Films Pvt. Ltd. is one of the biggest and oldest film production. Their films made many superstar included Hema Malini in Johny Mera Naam and Amitabh Bachan in Deewar. Vishwatma was launched in the summer of 1991 with grand mahurat. Film actor Dharamendra gave the mahurat shot. Soon Divya was left for long outdoor shooting in Nairobi. By the time Divya came back, film offers started pouring up in Divya's lap. Without single released Divya signed 14 films.
2 January, 1992 was a big day for Divya. She had many reason for wanting the film to be a success. However, vishwatma did well but, the success didn't come close to Tridev and the film declared flop. film premiere attended by many film personalities included Amitabh Bachan, Yash Chopra, Jackie Shroff, Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Chunky Pandey and many more. Although, Saat Samunder Paar song, which was picturized on Divya was became a Hit Song and even today audience remembered Divya in that song.
Seven days later, Divya's musical bonanzas Dil Ka Kya Kasoor released. it supposed to establish her as popular heroine but, only opened to empty theaters. No one expected film to bombed so badly. Everyone had many reason for the film to be a success. Since, the director Lawrence D'souza and music director Nadeem-Shravan gave few months back smashing hit Saajan, which mounted Sanjay Dutt career. Although, the film failed to impress an audience, Filmfare magazines bestowed Divya by included her in the list of 1992 top ten best actress performances. Surprisingly, Even, when every Friday newcomers was introducing to showbiz (More than 50 young girls made their debut in 1991-92), 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", (Stardust, March 1992).
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. No one even gave it a though. Until it became a super hit; and Divya was riding high again. Not, it only presents Divya in a noble character, but also gave big boost to Govinda's career and launched David Dhawan as establish director.
Four Months later, Raj Kanwar's love story Deewana came, the biggest hit of 1992, where she held her own against veteran Rishi Kapoor and the new sensation Shahrukh Khan. With the super success of Deewana, Divya got rid of promising newcomer and entered in the a-list stars. Her performance in the Deewana was highly appreciated. Around that time, Divya's other films Balwaan and Jaan Se Pyaara released and did well at box office. By the end of year, Hema Malini's Dil Aashna Hai released, in which Divya played a bar dancer, who was looking for her mother. Film was a box-office failure. Despite that, her performance in the film was much appreciated by critics.
Suddenly, with big hits under her belt, Divya was became the hottest property in showbiz. And many predict that she was poised to hit the number one slot not very far. In fact, In September, 1992 'Movie' magazine putted her at the 3rd position actress by the bases of price, popularity and poistion. She was right after Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi and left far away her generation actresses. As well as Filmfare magazine in their Jan, 93 issue rank her at 3rd position in top five actresses of 1992-93. So does, Stardust magazine in their March, 1993 issue. But, destiny has other plans, on the fateful day of 5 April, 1993 Divya was fell on the compound from her 5th floor apartment, She was only nineteen.
Divya holds the all time record for being the actress with most number of releases in her debut year, she had nine releases. A feat which no other actress from Devika Rani to Deepika Padukone has managed. Fate has sadly abbreviated a career that was reaching for other bigger records. She brought warmth and dazzle to jaded extravaganzas like Vishwatma and her one-two punch Deewana and Shola Aur Shabnam settled her in the big league. Imtermittently brilliant in films like Deewana and Dil Aashna Hai, Divya was a light that burnt twice as bright. She had to last half as long.
In 1990s, Divya continues to be a hot favorite. Her shows in abroad once drew large crowd which was understandable. But incomprehensible is the fact that she was still draw crowds at show abroad in 1994-95! Before departing on a stage show in States, Aly Morani took along a large photograph of Divya's that'd Borrowed from her mother. He used it to start the show with a tribute. The crowd reaction was so sensational that they took the picture along with them to Dubai and Salman Khan and Pooja Bhatt did Aisi Deewangi..in her memory. And the crowds went wild. At least two new girls in Telugu Films made a career out of doing a Divya. One of them girl Rambha was created such a sensation by merely resembling Divya that she did many Bollywood Films. Many actresses in early part of their career compared to Divya Bharati, which included Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Celina Jaitley, Hansika Motwani. Even Kajol's spontaneity and vivacity compared to Divya.
Strange but true, Divya was still very popular with public, one year after her death. Divya posters was selling in twelve hundred rupees when one could buy any other top star posterwith only fifty rupees. In showtime feb, 1994 issues, one shop seller quotes "his sales had increased dramatically after he put up the the Divya's poster since people came to see it and ended up buying his stuff.
hardly 16 years old Divya met Sajid Nadiadwala in 1990 at Filmcity. Divya was shooting with Govinda on the sets of Shola Aur Shabnam. It was Govinda who introduced Sajid to Divya. Actually, Sajid dropped by the sets to Meet his friend Govinda. Soon, it became a routine for the unit to see Sajid on sets everyday. In fact, soon everyone on the sets began to tease them. Every time he'd come on the sets, they'd say, here comes Divya's boyfriend.
As sajid quotes in Movie June, 1993 issue "Somewhere around January 15,1992 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 May 10, 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 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.
On April 5, 1993, Divya fell to her death off a 5-storey apartment building, Tulsi 2 in Mumbai. The police closed the investigation into her death in 1998, but the circumstances of her death remain murky.
The funeral took place on April 7, about 500 people attended 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, Urmila Matondkar, Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shirodkar, Sonu Walia, Somy Ali, Karisma Kapoor, Sangeeta Bijlani, Tabu, Manisha Koirala and Asha Parekh, offered condolences to the bereaved family members at their residence.
She was scheduled to star movies including Mohra, Laadla, Andolan, Angrakshak ,Kartavya (1995), and Vijaypath before her death; her roles were recast. 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.