Bharathi was born in a Marathi speaking family in Karnataka. Bharathi was married to the popular Kannada actor and singer Vishnuvardhan on 27 February 1975 at Kuchalamba Kalyana Mantapa in Bangalore. They had two adopted daughters, Keerthi and Chandana. Vishnuvardhan died on New Year’s Eve in 2009.
Bharathi Vishnuvardhan was critically acclaimed for her roles in movies like Runa Muktalu, Bangaaradha Manushya, Doorada Betta, Gandondu Hennaru, Bangaarada Jinke, Avalukendru Oru Manam, Bhagya Jyoti and the Kannada Doordarshan serial Janani. In 2012, she appeared as a strict, no-nonsense sessions court judge in TN Seetharam’s Kannada daily serial “Mukta-Mukta”. She has acted alongside many popular actors such as Rajkumar, Ambareesh, Akkineni, Vishnuvardhan and others.
Bharathi has acted in a number of Hindi films as well, like T. Prakash Rao’s Suraj, Manoj Kumar’s Purab Aur Paschim, Khel, Subash Ghai’s Uttar Dakshin, Dilip Kumar’s Izzatdaar, Mehamood’s Kunwaara Baap, Aao Pyaar Karen, and many more. In Tamil, she acted as the leading heroine to all three doyens of Tamil film industry in those days: Sivaji Ganesan, M.G. Ramachandran, Gemini Ganesan and R. Muthuraman. In Telugu cinema field, she has acted in Jai Kishan and Govula Gopanna