Divya Bharti, was one of most popular actresses of the early 90s, and one of the youngest stars to grace the Hindi movie screens at the time. Quoting Jared Leto, “I don’t care if someone remembered me. Life is for living and memories are for those we leave behind.” This quote probably describes Divya Bharti’s short life perfectly.
She made her debut as a model at the age of 14, moved into movies by the age of 15 and passed away at the age of 19. A short life, full of achievements, Bharti left an indelible mark in the Hindi and Telegu film industry. A stunning, vivacious and talented actress, she had some fabulous movies to her credit, with a wide variety of roles, essayed at a very young age.
On the occasion of her 30th death anniversary, here’s a look back at her popular songs, with a throwback to some of her roles that established her as a young superstar.
Saat Samundar Paar – ‘Vishwatma’
Her first Hindi movie, she was paired opposite Sunny Deol in this multi starrer. This iconic song is typically Divya Bharti, as she was said to be in reality, she danced with abandon and grace. Till today, this song, sung by Sadhana Sargam, composed by Viju Shah, is an all-time favourite on the dance floor and has seen several remixes. Playing the role of a simple girl, yet determined, courageous girl, Divya’s work garnered attention and a star was born!
Payaliya – ‘Deewana’
In the movie, Divya played the role of a widow, who finds love for the second time and faces an upheaval with the return of her first husband. Paired opposite Rishi Kapoor for this song, Divya held her own opposite the legend. All the songs in this movie were composed by Nadeem Shravan and were extremely popular. This song was sung by the popular duo Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik.
Tu Pagal Premi Awara – ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’
Divya had worked with almost all of the major stars of the time. ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’ was one such movie with the superstar Govinda who was on a winning streak in the 90s. A romantic-come thriller caper, Divya enthralled in a role that needed a comic flair to match up to Govinda and the charm of a die-hard romantic. This lilting melody, rendered by Shabbir Kumar and Kavita Krishnamurti was top of the charts and the movie itself was one of the biggest hits of the 90s.
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Tujhe Na Dekhu – ‘Rang’
One of Divya’s last films became one of her biggest chartbusters. The film ‘Rang’, in which she played the daughter to Jeetendra and Amrita Singh, along with Ayesha Jhulka has her on-screen sister, was completely shot before her demise. However, her character was dubbed by a voiceover artist before the film was released at cinemas. The song ‘Tujhe Na Dekhu’ proved a rage with her pink outfit and on-screen chemistry with Kamal Sadanah likened by fans.
Aisi Deewangee – ‘Deewana’
Paired opposite Shah Rukh Khan, this song was another hit from the movie ‘Deewana.’ Once again, Divya Bharti was part of a super hit combination of stars; Rishi Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan. The role of a widow required maturity and when the character transition took place to that of a young girl in love, Divya aced it and received accolades for her acting. This song was rendered by Vinod Rathod and Alka Yagnik.
Kisi Ne Bhi To Na Dekha – ‘Dil Aashna Hai’
‘Dil Aashna Hai’ was the legendary actress Hema Malini’s directorial debut. Incidentally, it was supposed to be Shah Rukh Khan’s debut movie but got delayed. Divya who was a few films older was paired opposite Khan. The role Divya essayed was a complex one, starting off as a club dancer who goes in search of her biological mother. Touted as an emotional drama film, it touched all the rights chords with its unusual story line of an illegitimate child searching for her mother, and seeking societal acceptance. The song was a ghazal sung by Pankaj Udhas, was a poignant one and a high point in the movie for the character played by Divya.
A short life, well lived, immensely loved, however, Divya’s untimely, unnatural death at the age of 19 raised a few intriguing questions about her life. She was considered a superstar by then and had signed quite a few popular films before her death, like ‘Mohra’, ‘Andolan’, ‘Vijaypath’, ‘Angrakshak’. She had shot almost half of ‘Laadla’ which was then reshot by Sridevi.
An actress who is missed, the common refrain being ‘gone too soon’ and yet Divya has left behind a small, wonderful legacy of films that are still remembered.