Bharathi's first claims to fame were her supporting roles in the 1966 film Nadodi, starring M. G. Ramachandran and Saroja Devi, where she played the elder sister to Saroja Devi, and then her role in Chandhrodhayam, as the supporting actress to Jayalalithaa. The song "Ulagum Engum Orey Mozhi", picturised on her with M. G. Ramachandran established her as a star and Nadodi is the only film where she was cast as M. G. R's heroine. She then received offers as the lead heroine in Tamil films which became hits, like Deiva Cheyal and Namma Veetu Lakshmi, both with Muthuraman, Poovum Pottum with A. V. M. Rajan, Avalukendru Oru Manam opposite Gemini Ganeshan. Thanga Thambi, Valiba Virundhu, Enga Papa, Nimardhu Nil, Meendum Vazhven, Nee Vazha Vendum, - all six opposite Ravichandran, Naan Yaar Theriyuma, Unakkum Enakkum, Naangu Killadigal, Ponvandu and Nil Kavani Kadhali - all five opposite Jaishankar, Uyirandhan Manidhan with Sivakumar and Thanga Surangam with Shivaji Ganeshan. She again acted with MGR-Jayalalithaa in Annamitta Kai in 1972. Her last Tamil film as leading heroine was Nee Vazha Vendum in 1977.