Divya Bharti

Divya Bharti
Divya Bharti, image credit: Cine Buzz

Born - February 25, 1974 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Birth Name - Divya Om Prakash Bharti

Nickname - Sana

Died - April 5, 1993 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Cause of death - Accidental fall from building

Occupation - Actress

Years active - 1990-93

Nationality - Indian

Height - 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Spouse(s) - Sajid Nadiadwala (1992 –1993; her death)

Divya Om Prakash Bharti (25 February 1974 – 5 April 1993) commonly known as Divya Bharti was an Indian film actress, who starred in a number of successful Hindi and Telugu motion pictures in the early 1990s. Known for her acting versatility, vivacity and beauty, she is regarded as one of the most popular and highest-paid actresses of her time.

Bharti aspired a career in films at a young age, and started to get offers at age 14, while she was doing some modelling assignments. After several unsuccessful attempts, she made her debut with a lead role in the successful Telugu drama "Bobbili Raja" (1990), aged 16.

Bharti was born in Mumbai to Om Prakash Bharti, an insurance officer, and his wife, Meeta Bharti. She had a younger brother named Kunal and one half-sister Poonam, who was the child of Bharti's father's first marriage. Actress Kainaat Arora is her second cousin. She spoke Hindi, English and Marathi fluently. In her early years, Bharti was known for her bubbly personality and for her doll-like looks.

Bharti studied at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, Mumbai. She was an average student and completed 9th standard before pursuing an acting career.

In 1988, Bharti was discovered by filmmaker Nandu Tolani. Upon seeing her, Tolani insisted on signing her for one of his films. At that time, Bharti was in the ninth standard (in ninth grade). She was originally scheduled to make her screen debut in "Gunahon Ka Devta" in 1988, but her role was cancelled. Kirti Kumar noticed Bharti at a video library, and thus was eager to sign her for his project "Radha Ka Sangam" opposite Govinda, as he was searching for a new face. Weeks later, Kumar met with Dilip Shankar and managed to release Bharti from her contract. After taking dancing and acting lessons for months to prepare for her role, Bharti was eventually dropped and replaced by Juhi Chawla. Though the reasons remain unclear, it was speculated that Kumar's possessiveness over Bharti and her childish nature were the cause of her replacement.

Bharti's career was stalled until D. Ramanaidu, Telugu film producer, offered her "Bobbili Raja" opposite his son Daggubati Venkatesh. Without hoping for success after experiencing many failures in Bollywood, she commenced shooting in Andhra Pradesh for her screen debut. The film was released in the summer of 1990 and became a colossal hit. "Bobbili Raja" remains to this day one of the most popular Telugu movies. Bharti acted in only one Tamil film, "Nila Penne" opposite Anand. The film was critically and financially unsuccessful.

With more hits in the Telugu cinema, Bharti established herself as one of the most popular Telugu actresses. In 1991, Bharti had back-to-back hits, including "Rowdy Alludu" and "Assembly Rowdy", opposite actors Chiranjeevi and Mohan Babu. Later that year, Bharti began filming A. Kodandarami Reddy's action romance "Dharma Kshetram" under Sri Rajeev Productions. Bharti got to work with Telugu film actor Nandamuri Balakrishna.

While Bharti celebrated her success in Andhra Pradesh, Bollywood's top directors were eager to sign the Telugu superstar for their upcoming films. Bharti's first Bollywood film was "Vishwatma" opposite Sunny Deol, directed by Rajiv Rai, and was released on 2nd January 1992. The film was an average grosser at the box office and gained Bharti wider recognition from the public as well as film critics. Notably, the music of the film was very successful, especially the song 'Saat Samundar', which became a favourite, and put Bharti in the limelight of Bollywood.

A week later, Bharti's next film, Lawrence D'Souza's romantic drama "Dil Ka Kya Kasoor", alongside Prithvi released. Though the film failed at the box office, it brought her name in the Filmfare magazine's 'Top Ten Best Actress Performances' of 1992. The movie was also recognized for its outstanding music.

In March 1992, David Dhawan's "Shola Aur Shabnam" was released. It was popular with critics and was a box office hit in India, reviving Bharti's career once again. It also gave a big boost to Govinda's career and launched David Dhawan as an established director. Shortly thereafter, Bharti achieved further success in Raj Kanwar's love story "Deewana" starred veteran actor Rishi Kapoor and newcomer Shahrukh Khan, which is regarded as one of the biggest blockbuster hits of 1992. Her performance in "Deewana" was highly appreciated. Bharti and Shahrukh Khan won the Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year and Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut respectively. By July 1992, Bharti's work in "Deewana" was said to have earned her more recognition.

She had several other releases that year, among them "Jaan Se Pyaara", which featured Bharti alongside Govinda once again, "Geet" opposite Avinash Wadhawan, "Dushman Zamana" alongside Armaan Kohli and "Balwaan" which marked the debut of Suniel Shetty. In October, Hema Malini's "Dil Aashna Hai", which once again featured her opposite Shahrukh Khan was released, which didn't do as well at the box office. Bharti decided to act in one Telugu movie per year in order to not disappoint her Telugu audience. Thus, "Chittamma Mogudu" was released at the end of 1992, starring once again the popular couple of Bharti and Mohan Babu. The ensemble film "Kshatriya" in which she co-starred alongside Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon was the last film to be released during Bharti's lifetime.

Bharti's sudden death on April 5, 1993 left several films incomplete and some were shelved after announcement. She was more than halfway through the filming of "Laadla" at the time of her death and the film was reshot with Sridevi replacing her. She was replaced in several films she had signed and started filming for such as "Mohra", "Kartavya", "Vijaypath" and "Andolan". Some movies which she had signed for were subsequently shelved, such as "Parinaam" with Akshay Kumar, "Kanyadaan" with Rishi Kapoor, "Bajrang" with Sunny Deol and "Chal Pe Chal" with Jackie Shroff.

She had completed filming for "Rang" which was released posthumously in July 1993. Her incomplete Telugu film "Tholi Muddhu" was partly completed by Indian actress Rambha, who slightly resembled Bharti and hence was used as her body double to complete her remaining scenes and the film released in October 1993. Her final completed film was "Shatranj" which was released in December 1993.

Bollywood legend Dev Anand made a movie titled "Chargesheet" which was loosely based on her death and the mystery surrounding it and was released on 30th September 2011.

Bharti met director-producer Sajid Nadiadwala through Govinda at the shooting of "Shola Aur Shabnam", and they were married on 10 May 1992. Divya got married to Sajid in a private ceremony, with the presence of her hairdresser-friend Sandhya, Sandhya’s husband and a Qazi at Nadiadwala’s Tulsi Buildings residence (in Mumbai).

Divya died on April 5, 1993, aged 19, from head injuries sustained after falling from the balcony of her apartment in Tulsi Buildings, Versova, Andheri West (Mumbai). The cause of her falling was never established and several theories circulated in the media during that time, including falling under the influence of alcohol, being pushed by someone, suicide and the involvement of her husband and underworld mafia. The investigation was closed in 1998 by Mumbai police and the reason of death was stated as accidental death. She was cremated on 7 April 1993 at the Vile Parle crematorium, Mumbai.


Year Movies Role  Language  Notes
 1990   Bobbili Raja  Rani  Telugu  Debut film
1990  Nila Pennae  Nila  Tamil  Debut Tamil film
1991  Naa Ille Naa Swargam  Pratusha  Telugu  Dubbed
1991  Rowdy Alludu  Rekha  Telugu  
1991  Assembly Rowdy  Pooja  Telugu  
1992  Dharma Kshetram  Mythili  Telugu  
1992  Vishwatma  Kusum  Telugu  Debut Hindi film
1992  Dil Ka Kya Kasoor  Seema/Shalani 
1992  Shola Aur Shabnam  Divya Thapar  Hindi  
1992  Jaan Se Pyaara  Sharmila  Hindi  
1992  Deewana  Kaajal  Hindi  Filmfare Award for
 'Lux New Face of the Year'
1992  Balwaan  Deepa  Hindi  
1992  Dushman Zamana  Seema  Hindi  
1992  Dil Aashna Hai  Laila/Sitara  Hindi  
1992  Geet  Neha  Hindi  Partly dubbed
1992  Chittemma Mogudu  Chittemma  Telugu  
1993  Dil Hi To Hai  Bharati  Hindi  
1993  Kshatriya  Tanvi Singh  Hindi  Last release during her lifetime
1993  Tholi Muddhu  Divya  Telugu  Posthumous release; partly completed
 by South Indian actress Rambha
1993  Rang  Kajal  Hindi  Posthumous release; dubbed
1993  Shatranj  Renu  Hindi  Last release after her death; dubbed

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