Divya Bharti

Divya Bharti (25 February 1974 – 5 April 1993) was an Indian film actress who starred in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil movies in the early 1990s. Known for her acting versatility, vivacity and beauty, she was regarded as one of the most popular and highest paid Indian actresses of her time.[3][4]

Divya Bharti
Divya Bharti photo.png
Bharti in 1992
Born(1974-02-25)25 February 1974[1]
Died(1993-04-05)5 April 1993 (age 19)[2]
Versova, Mumbai, Maharastra, India
Cause of deathAccidental fall
Other namesSana Nadiadwala
Years active1990–1993
Spouse(s)Sajid Nadiadwala
(1992 –1993; her death)

Bharti aspired to a film career at the age of 14, while she was doing some modelling assignments. She made her debut with a lead role in the successful Telugu drama Bobbili Raja (1990) at the age of 16. After featuring in high-grossing Telugu films, she progressed to Hindi cinema in 1992 with the action thriller Vishwatma. Bharti went on to have commercial success, appearing in films such as Shola Aur Shabnam and Deewana, the latter of which led to her winning the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.[5] She acted in over a dozen Hindi films within a single year, which is still an unbroken record in Hindi cinema.[6]

Early life and familyEdit

Bharti was born in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) on 25 February 1974[1] to Om Prakash Bharti, an insurance officer, and his wife, Meeta Bharti.[7] She had a younger brother named Kunal and a half-sister Poonam, who was the child of Om Prakash Bharti's first marriage.[8] Actress Kainaat Arora is her second cousin.[9]

Bharti spoke Hindi, English and Marathi fluently. In her early years, she was known for her bubbly personality and doll-like looks.[10][11] She studied at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, Mumbai. Bharti was a restless student at school and completed the 9th standard before pursuing an acting career.[12]


In 1988, Bharti, then a ninth-grader, was signed by filmmaker Nandu Tolani for one of his films. She was originally scheduled to make her screen debut in Gunahon Ka Devta in 1988, but her role was cancelled.[13] Kirti Kumar noticed Bharti at a video library, and was eager to sign her for his project Radha Ka Sangam opposite Govinda. 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 dropped and replaced by Juhi Chawla.[13] It was speculated that Kumar's possessiveness over Bharti and her childish nature were the cause of her replacement.[14]

Bharti's career was stalled until D. Ramanaidu, a Telugu film producer, offered her Bobbili Raja opposite his son Daggubati Venkatesh. She commenced shooting in Andhra Pradesh for her screen debut. The film was released in the summer of 1990 and became a hit.[15] Bobbili Raja remains one of the most popular Telugu movies. That same year, Bharti acted in a Tamil film, Nila Penne, opposite Anand. The film was critically and financially unsuccessful.[15]

In box office ratings, she figured next to Vijayshanti. In 1991, Bharti had back-to-back hits with action comedy film Rowdy Alludu and drama Assembly Rowdy opposite actors Chiranjeevi and Mohan Babu, respectively.[16][17] 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.[18]

Bharti in 1993

While Bharti celebrated her success in Andhra Pradesh, Bollywood's top directors were eager to sign her for films. Bharti's first Bollywood film was Vishwatma opposite Sunny Deol, directed by Rajiv Rai, and was released on 2 January 1992. The film was an average grosser in the box office but gained Bharti wider recognition from the public as well as film critics.[19][20] Bharti was most notable for the song used in the film Saat Samundar.[21]

A week later, Bharti's next film, Lawrence D'Souza's romantic drama Dil Ka Kya Kasoor, in which she starred alongside Prithvi, was released.[22] The film was not a box office success but was recognized for its music.[23] Afterwards she remarked:

"I wanted to prove myself. But I've fallen flat on my face. Now, I have to begin my climb all over again. Yet, I'm positive that one day, success will be mine."[24]

In March 1992, David Dhawan's romantic action drama Shola Aur Shabnam was released. It was popular with critics and was a box office hit in India,[6] marking Bharti's first major hit in Bollywood. Bharti achieved further success in Raj Kanwar's Filmfare Award-winning love story Deewana,[25] which starred veteran actor Rishi Kapoor and newcomer Shahrukh Khan and was one of the biggest hits of 1992. Her performance in Deewana was highly appreciated.[26] Critics reported that Bharti belonged to a new breed of Hindi film actors who broke away from character stereotypes. Bharti won the Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year.[23] By July 1992, Bharti's work in Deewana was said to have earned her more recognition.

She had several Hindi releases that year, among them action drama Jaan Se Pyaara, which featured Bharti alongside Govinda once again, romantic drama Geet opposite Avinash Wadhawan, action Dushman Zamana alongside Armaan Kohli, and action drama Balwaan, which marked the debut of Sunil Shetty.[27] The latter achieved moderate success. In October, she appeared in Hema Malini's romantic drama Dil Aashna Hai, which did not do as well at the box office. Bharti's performance as a bar dancer who sets out to find her birth mother was appreciated.[28] Bharti decided to act in one Telugu movie per year to not disappoint her Telugu audience. Chittamma Mogudu was released at the end of 1992, again starring the popular couple of Bharti and Mohan Babu.[29] 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 on 26 March 1993.[30]

Bharti's death on 5 April 1993 left several films incomplete. She was more than halfway through the filming of Laadla at the time of her death. She was replaced in several other films she had not completed, including Mohra, Kartavya, Vijaypath, Dilwale, and Andolan.[31][32][33]

Shortly before her death, she had completed filming for Rang and Shatranj; these were released posthumously several months later and achieved moderate success. Although she had completed filming her scenes for both films, a dubbing artist was used as she never got the chance to dub for the films. Her incomplete Telugu film Tholi Muddhu was partly completed by actress Rambha, who slightly resembled Bharti and hence was used as her body double to complete her remaining scenes; the film was released in October 1993. She was also supposed to play the role of Bhavani in the Telugu film Allari Premikudu, but due to her death her role was given to Rambha.[34]

Personal lifeEdit

Bharti met director-producer Sajid Nadiadwala through Govinda at the shooting of Shola Aur Shabnam, and they married on 10 May 1992.[35] Bharti and Nadiadwala were married in a private ceremony, with the presence of her hairdresser and friend Sandhya, Sandhya's husband, and a qazi at Nadiadwala's Tulsi Buildings residence in Mumbai.[36] She converted to Islam after her marriage and changed her name to Sana Nadiadwala.[37][38] The marriage was kept secret due to family problems and also to safeguard Bharti's movie career.[39][40]


In the late evening hours of 5 April 1993, Bharti fell from the balcony window of her fifth-floor apartment in Tulsi Buildings, Versova, Andheri West (Mumbai).[41][2] When her guests Neeta Lulla, Neeta's husband Shyam, Bharti's maid Amrita, and neighbours realised what had happened, she was rushed in an ambulance to the emergency department at Cooper Hospital, where she died.[42] The cause of death was severe head injuries and internal bleeding. She was cremated on 7 April 1993 at the Vile Parle crematorium, Mumbai.[36][43] Bharti died in April 1993, aged 19, after falling from the balcony of her apartment in Mumbai.[44][45][46]

The reason of her fatal fall was never established and several theories circulated in the media.[10][47][48][49] Some sources believe it was a planned murder, others say she accidentally fell, while some say she was drunk which caused her to fall. The investigation was closed in 1998 by Mumbai police with the conclusion that it was an accidental death.[11]


In 2011, Bollywood legend Dev Anand made the movie Chargesheet, which was loosely based on her death and the mystery surrounding it.[50]


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


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External linksEdit