Divya Bharti was a popular Indian film actress and Bollywood celebrity in the early 1990s. She first starred in “Bobilli Raja” in 1990 and went on to star in 14 Hindi films in 1992.
Her career was tragically cut short when she died at the age of 19 in 1993.
Divya Bharti was born in Mumbai to Omprakash Bharti and Meeta Bharti on February 25, 1974. She attended high school but dropped out when she began being offered film roles while she was in the 9th grade.
She received her first film role offer in 1988 but was dropped from the film production for unclear reasons. Several other directors showed interest but Divya was not signed to any films. Since she was out of school and out of work, it was a challenging time for her.
Finally the famed Telugu film director, Mr. D. Rama Naidu, approached Divya for his movie “Bobbili Raja” which was released in 1990. It became a huge hit and Divya became a huge star. She starred in 3 more hit films with superstars of the Telugu cinema in 1991 and was being compared with Sridevi, the biggest star at the time. For Divya, Bollywood was next to take notice and she was about to become a Bollywood celebrity.
Rise to Stardom in Bollywood
Divya was signed to star in “Vishwatma” opposite Sunny Deol which was released in the summer of 1991. The movie did not do well at the box office but Divya was showcased for her skills as an actress. A hit song from the movie “Saat Samandar” also increased Divya’s star power. Shortly after the release of “Vishwatma,” Divya found herself signed to star in 14 movies.
The first of this string of movies, “Dil Ka Kya Kasoor”, was not very successful but the next 4 movies – “Shola Aur Shabnam”,” Deewana”, “Balwaan”, and “Jaan Se Pyaara” - were big hits and moved Divya from promising newcomer status to A-list status. Divya was the youngest most successful start in Bollywood earning her the Outstanding Face of the Year at the end of 1992.
During this time as a Bollywood actress, Divya was also constantly featured in the tabloids in stories related to her behaviors on-set. But there was more drama and intrigue to come. Divya had secretly married Bollywood film producer Sajid Nadiadwala in May 1992. The marriage was kept hidden due to family issues — one because of her being a Hindu and Sajid being a Muslim and the other to safeguard her promising movie career. After the marriage, she converted to Islam and changed her name to Sana Nadiadwala.
In 1993, Divya had 2 hit movies “Kshatriya” and “Andha Insaaf” and her career seemed unstoppable as a hot celebrity in India. But on April 5, 1993, Divya fell from the balcony of a fifth story apartment to her death. Her death was considered suspicious and some people speculated that either Divya was pushed or that she fell because she was intoxicated. The police could find no evidence of foul play and the case was closed.
Many people attended her funeral including some of biggest stars in Bollywood. Two films were released after her death, “Rang” and “Shatranj” which were dedicated to her memory. Divya was scheduled to star in several other movies but the roles were all recast. Her husband continues to dedicate his movies to Divya’s memory.