Mystery and speculation surrounds the death of Divya Bharati. Parallels have been drawn between her and Marilyn Monroe. People were never quite sure whether their deaths were due to substance abuse or depression. Though Marilyn died at 36, Divya was with us only for 19 years.
Her film career started at the tender age of 15, when she abandoned studies to start acting in movies. Her first hit was in Telugu movie Bobbili raja when she was just 16. An amazing mix of sensuality and innocence, the audience lapped up her performances in movies like Vishwatma, Dil ka kya Kasoor, Deewana, Shola aur shabnam and Dil ashna hai to name a few. She was a much sought after heroine when it all came to a crashing end with her death on 5th April 1993.
A meeting with her parents was shocking to say the least. Her mother, a shadow of her former self and her dejected father surprised me with their willingness to talk and their amicable relationship with former son-in-law, Sajid and his wife Wardha. Their apartment is surprisingly free of any memorabilia glorifying Divya.
The cute and generous: As a child she was like a sweet ray of sunrise who insisted that every time she got something new, her cousins too get one. Often she would be mistaken for a doll by total strangers. She would ignore her studies and would spend hours practicing movie dance steps in front of the mirror.
Off and on start to movies: At 15 she was spotted by Kirti Kumar for his movie “Radha Ka Sangam”. She gave up her schooling to learn dance, acting and singing. However she was dropped from the project and two more after that.
Disheartened she and her mother went on a holiday, where they had to cut it short due to the offer to act in “Bobbili Raja”. Divya accepted this movie just for the heck of it and success followed. Off the sets she would dress simply in casual pair of jeans and T-shirt, preferring the de-glam look.
The child-woman: She was always very uninhibited and nonchalant about her success in movies. She would break into impromptu dance at many occasions. Pulling pranks on costars was another thing she was known for. Her child like pranks used to both amuse and sometimes annoy co stars who would then refuse to work with her unless she desisted. Later on they would give in to her childish charms.
Love and matrimony: Given her impetuous nature, love happened very young for Divya. When she married Sajid in 1992, there were many speculations about their relationship. Her mother reveals that she had never been able to restrict her daughter in anything. She also goes on to say that Sajid and Divya had a normal marriage with tiffs like any other couple. She says that Divya was very traditional person who wanted to start a family soon.
Rendezvous with Death: Her death on 5th April 1993 was rife with speculation. Her mother regrets that she did not accompany Divya back to her apartment on the day of her death as she was visiting her brother. Tragedy stuck Divya on an ordinary day when she was entertaining Neeta and Shyam Lulla in her flat when she went to the balcony for a while where she slipped and fell. She had had a little rum at that time and it is speculated that she tried to sit on the wall of the balcony and lost her balance and fell down 5 floors to her death.
Her mother admits that Divya was prone to self destructive behavior whenever she was upset but believes that her death was a tragedy.
After the tragedy: Her parents struggled to deal with her untimely death for a long time. After a long time they have been able to accept the death of their daughter. They talk about how she appears in their dreams. Their relationship with Sajid and his current wife has also helped them get over the tragedy of their loss. Her legacy of love and innocence lives on in their shared memories.