Remembering Divya Bharti

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The 90s begin like any other decade, promising to bring lots of surprises. One of them was Divya Bharti. Who can forget that beautiful girl singing “Saat Samundar” when she made her debut in Bollywood world? I was only a little girl but I can still remember, running to the nearest TV whenever the song was on and mesmerized by her. I wasn’t the only one. The song was from her debut Hindi movie, Vishwatma.The movie didn’t do well in the box office but Divya got noticed for her talents. At that time, everyone predicted a bright future for this nearly 17 year old actress and they were nearly right but nobody could have imagined how her career would come to a sudden end.

Divya was born Divya Om Prakash Bharti on February 25th, 1974 to Meeta and Om Parkash Bharti in Mumbai. According to tabloids reports, Divya had a traumatic childhood. Om Parkash left his parents house, his wife, and children to marry Meeta, Divya’s mother. But Om Parkash’s first wife didnt leave Divya and her family alone. She would curse and rave them and maybe that is the reason, Divya’s parents were constantly fighting and were so busy with themselves that they had no time for Divya. Her father was an alcoholic while her mother used to be too busy with her kitty parties. Divya felt unloved and unwanted and maybe because of that matured beyond her age. When she was 10, she decided to become economically independent and walk out of her parents’ house. She hated school and her only other alternative was films. Her father, unsuccessful stage artist himself, pushed Divya to fulfill his dream and make her out to be the golden goose. In a March 92 issue of Stardust, Divya firmly denied the allegations and said with “teary eyes” that she is not ashamed of anything in her life especially her past but she wish she could avoid talking about it because “it is too personal and private”.

Divya first got her chance when in 9th grade, director Kriti Kumar met her around 1988 in a Mumbai Video Library and approached her to play the lead role opposite Govinda in “Radha Ka Sangam” but was later dropped. But later on, the famed Telugu film director, Mr. D. Rama Naidu, approached for his movie “Bobbili Raja” which went to become a super hit and broke all previous records in the Telugu film industry. People started to compare her with the biggest star of the time, Sridevi. Soon after more hits followed with Assembly Rowdy, Dharma Kshetrain, Rowdy Alludu which all went to become hits in the Telugu and Tamil film industries. The popularity of Divya in the South made Bollywood finally notice her and Rajiv Rai signed her for Vishwatma. Even though the movie was a flop, nobody can forget the song “Saat Samandar”. Her talents were noticed by everyone and soon after Dewaana with newcomer Shahrukh Khah, and Shola Aur Shabnam with Govinda followed and went on to become super hits and has signed 14 other movies. By then Divya also became a tabloid’s darling and was not only famous for her talents but also for her mood swings and childish behavior well forgetting that she was only 18. Her outspoken personality gotten taloids with reports about how she had problems with from Aamir Khan, Hema Malini, J.P Dutta, to Farah Khan. How she misbehaved on the sets and was never on time and how she had drinking problems also graced the tabloids pages. In one of her last interviews she explained her drinking problem by saying she only drinks on some occasion and has no problem whatsoever with it.

Not only was her professional life was on a rise, but so was her personal life. In May of 1992, she secretly got married to film director Sajid Nadiadwala. The marriage was kept a secret to protect her ever rising career. But that did not stop the tabloids from linking her with every co-star she worked with and calling her a “man-eater” which to she answered that if she was indeed a man eater, where are all the bones? She openly accepted the fact that she did indeed have a relationship with Sajid but denied the marriage allegations. In one of her last interview for Stardust in March of 1993, she said there will be a big announcement the following January relating to Sajid and her relationship. The announcement will never come.

Vishwatma, Dewaana and SAS were not her only movies in 92, 7 other movies: Geet, Dil Ka Kya Kasoor, Dil Hi To Hai, Dil Aashna Hai, Dushman Zamaana, Jaan Se Pyara and Balwan also followed making her the youngest successful star in Bollywood and earning her the Outstanding Face Of The Year at the end of 92. More hits followed her in 93 with Kshatriya and Andha Insaaf. Everyone was convinced she was going to be the biggest star in Bollywood but nobody had any idea what the fate will bring.

On April 7th, 1993, a 19 year old girl, dressed up in a bridal suit was surrounded by hundreds of people in a Mumbai suburb. But instead of being taken to her future home, she was taken to a cemetery to get buried. The girl was the ever successful, Divya Bharti. Her tragic end came on April 5th, 1993, when around midnight, she fell from her husband’s 5th floor building ending her ever growing successful career and most importantly her life. The circumstances behind her death were considered suspicious by the media with some saying she was pushed to her death, some saying she committed suicide and some saying she was heavily drunk and slipped. However, despite an investigation, police found nothing. To this day her death remains a mystery.

Her body was only released on the day of her funeral to taken to her father’s house who after hearing of his daughter sudden death, suffered from a mild heart attack and only released from the hospital on the day of her funeral. Her husband, Sajid also fainted and was taken to the hospital and was only released on the day of her funeral and after lightening the pyre, was overwhelmed by emotion and once again collasped. Around 500 people included her funeral with the likes of Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Raj Babbar, Yash Chopra, Jimmy Nirula, Sudhakar Bokade, Mukesh Duggal, Raza Murad, Vikas Anand, Ram Mohan, Javed Khan, Raj Kanwar, Nitin Manmohan, Pehlaj Nehlani, Hema Malini, Karisma Kapoor, Sangeeta Bijlani, Sridevi, Manisha Koirala and Asha Parekh, offered condolences to the bereaved family members at their residence. They were not the only one, the Mumbai streets were filled with fans of the young actress coming from all over India trying to get one last glimpse of the beautiful actress. Despite being only 6, I remember her last photographs of her in a bridal suit in front page of a newspaper.

After her death, her final two movies, Rang and Shatranj were released and dedicated to her memory. Movies like Mohra and Ladla were left unfinished and she was later replaced by Raveena Tandon and Sridevi. After showing clips of Divya in Ladla and comparing to Sridevi, many people felt that she did a much better job. Unfortunatly it was not meant to be. If still alive today, she would have 32 and without any doubts one of the biggest name in Bollywood along with Madhuri, Sridevi, and Kajol. These days, not many people know her but those who still remember her, consider her to be one of the best actresses to ever set foot in Bollywood.

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