At the age of 18, hailed next only to Sridevi & Madhuri, Divya Bharti was the best thing that had happened to Bollywood in the year 1992. Unmistakably a “Vivacious” Personality – who could have reigned as the Queen of Bollywood for years to come- Divya was a “rare” Natural Talent. She incidentally started her career in the Telugu cinema. Govinda’s brother Kirti Kumar was supposed to launch her as “Radha” in “Radha Ka sangam” but his Obsessive ways disheartened her and she left the project to head for the South. He replaced her with Juhi Chawla and portrayed her as “Unprofessional, Immature & Rebellious”. The biggest Directors of Bollywood screen-tested her but hesitated to give such a big responsibility to a mere 14-15 year old, who had the potential indeed. Her age worked against her but she hit the Telugu Industry with a Vengeance. “Bobilli Raja” became a rage in Andhra Pradesh. She gained the title of The Little “Sridevi” of South.
Rajiv Rai finally plunged into her popularity and casted her for “Vishwaatma” opposite much aged/senior Sunny Deol. Very few know that without a single release to her credit, she was signed for as many as 14 Movies. Though her initial movies failed to stir the screens, she was already a Star which surprised her contemporaries. Madhu [Phool Aur Kaante] & Chaandni [Sanam Bewafa] with their Super-hit Debuts could not achieve what Divya scored after her Initial “mediocre” Films. Her screen-presence was considered Magical in those days.
Divya Bharti hit the Screens with a “Thunder” soon – with “Shola aur Shabnam” & Shah Rukh Khan’s launch-pad “Deewana”. She was highly appreciated for her “Mature” performance as “Kaajal”. Shahrukh-Divya chemistry sizzled the market and was seen as the hottest “on-screen” Pair. She acted in 14 movies which were released between 1992-1993; an unbroken Record till date. Several projects were already in the making. Directors/Writers were penning down “Author-backed” roles for her.
“Love is Blind” they say with Cupid striking the naïve at an unknown time. Divya was all of 16 when she met Sajid Nadiadwala and they both instantly fell in Love. After achieving what many would give an arm or a leg to attain, she took the plunge to get married on 20 May 1992. She converted to Islam and took a new name Sanah. Much after the severe disapproval of her family, she kept it as a secret to avoid panic in the industry. But she seemed restless and her distress was visible. Incidents of arguments with her mother started circulating in the media. She was emerging as the new reckless “Rebel” who was not taking the responsibility attached with her name seriously.
Her producers were wary for they had invested millions on her. The Senior Directors saw her as the next “No. 1” and were planning big Projects with her. She was almost 80 % through with her role in “Laadla” opposite Anil Kapoor[ a role which Sridevi completed, starting from scratch, after Divya’s death]. Aditya Chopra had conceived “Dilwaale Dulhania Le jaenge” with Divya as Simran[ a movie which re defined the term “Blockbuster” in Bollywood]. Kshatriya was released with the Biggest names of Cinema under a single roof. Divya stood out as a confident Performer amongst the ensemble of Talent. Her personal life seemed messed up as media revealed the turbulence in her life over choosing marriage against a flourishing Acting career.
She fell to death from the 5th floor apartment- right in front of her husband’s eyes, on 7th Apr 1993 leaving incomplete Projects behind. They were executed by Sridevi, Tabu, Raveena & Pooja Bhatt. Her death remains a mystery till date though it seemed like an accidental fall. Her “Legacy” in the world of Hindi Cinema cannot be denied as she broke the myth of age v/s talent once again; after the legendary Sridevi contributed to the same in South. Divya Bharti is a name to reckon with when it comes to the Evolution of Modern Day Female Actors in Hindi Film Industry. She died too soon but lives in a true cinemagoers heart & mind even today.
“One of the saddest things in Life is wasted Talent”- Robert deNiro [Bronx Tale]