Friday, 23 September 2016

What's in a name, asked Shakespeare!

‘Names don’t matter and accomplishments do’, or 'What is in a name', many eminent names from India, especially those belonging to the world of glamour have proven it time and again. Indian cinema has seen the rise of many names over the years. Even years after their departure from the world of Cinema, their names continue to remain in the hearts of their admirers. The die-hard fans of these celebrities worship their favorite film stars like demigods and even go to the extent of naming their children after them. However, there are innumerable Bollywood celebrities who have shunned their original names to pursue a career in the glamour world. Many of these actors and actresses whom you have known for years have a different original name, which you may be completely unaware of. Enlisted below are few ( 30+) Bollywood celebrities whose real names will take you by surprise.
The screen names of yesteryears' screen idols were often as attractive as their on-screen personas. In fact, they inspired generations of parents to name their children 'Rajesh' or 'Jeetendra' or 'Dilip'. It is common knowledge that film stars adopted screen names because their original names were either old-fashioned or unattractive. They all changed their names, most probably at the insistence of the producers and directors in whose films they debuted as actors.

Dilip Kumar's original name is Muhammad Yusuf Khan. Described as the "ultimate method actor" by none other than Satyajit Ray, it was Devika Rani, the owner of Bombay Talkies, who advised this young man that this name would not be suitable for him as a film actor. So she advised this Pathan from Peshawar to change his name, and gave him a choice between Jahangir, Vasudev and Dilip Kumar. Mohammad Yusuf Khan Sarwar Khan opted for Dilip Kumar.
Madhubala's real name is Mumtaz Begum Jehan Dehlavi and she joined films as child artiste. As a child, her name in the credits of the films she worked in appeared as 'Baby Mumtaz'. And even when, at the age of 14, she appeared as a heroine opposite Raj Kapoor in Neel Kamal (1947), her name in the credits was Mumtaz. It was only after this film that Mumtaz became Madhubala.
There is an interesting story behind Sanjeev Kumar's change of name. Director Saawan Kumar Tak met Kumar at a theatre production. Floored by his performance, he assured him he'd give him a role in his first film. And when the time came, he offered him Naunihal and changed his name from Haribhai Jariwala to Sanjeev Kumar. Dev Anand, born Dharam Dev Anand, also dropped the first part of his name when he made his debut in Hum Ek Hain (1946).
As a youth, Manoj Kumar was a great fan of Dilip Kumar, and decided to name himself Manoj Kumar after Dilip's character in Shabnam (1949).
Similarly, there are other Bollywood actors who adopted different screen names. Jumping Jack Jeetendra's real name is Ravi Kapoor. When he made his debut as a hero in V Shantaram's Geet Gaya Patharon Ne (1965), it was suggested to him that he change his name. Ravinder Kapoor was one of the names considered for him. But at that time, a hero of Punjabi films named Ravinder Kapoor was already a rage, so it was felt that having two Ravinder Kapoors as heroes was likely to confuse audiences. Finally, Ravi Kapoor adopted Jeetendra as his screen name.
The credit for the funniest name in the Hindi film industry would probably go to the inimitable Johnny Walker. His real name is Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi. He worked as a bus conductor and was known to regale his passengers with his jokes and repartee while issuing them tickets. The story goes that actor and scriptwriter Balraj Sahni met him in the bus and was taken in by his happy-go-lucky persona. At the time, he was writing the script of Baazi and thought he was the best candidate for a comedian's role in the film. He introduced Badruddin to Guru Dutt, who asked him to perform the role of a drunken man. The young man did such a fantastic job that, pleased with his screen test, Guru Dutt gave him the name of Johnny Walker - yes, after the whisky! Interestingly, Johnny Walker was a complete teetotaller.
The matinee idol of the South, Rajinikanth, was also a bus conductor in Bangalore before entering movies. His real name is Shivaji Rao Gaikwad. Director K Balachander gave him his stage name of Rajinikanth. And then there is Johny Lever, whose real name is John Rao. Also a comic actor, he adopted 'Lever' from Hindustan Lever, where he worked before becoming an actor.
Preity Zinta's original name is Preetam Zinta Singh, and the current hot Bollywood entrant Sunny Leone's is Karenjit Kaur Vohra. But Sunny changed her name to suit the industry she worked in and Americanised it before she became a Bollywood actress. However, most film entrants these days are under no compulsion to change their real names - we like Hrithik Roshan, Sharman Joshi and Shreyas Talpade just fine, thank you!
Evidently, there's a lot at stake. Ask anyone from showbiz. Why else do you think so many actors and actresses pick screen names before they hit the limelight. The star's name has to be as cool as his looks and his personality. You think Shahrukh Khan would be King Khan if his name had been something as ordinary as Rahul or Raj? Shahrukh Khan, at the time of his marriage, was asked by his Hindu in-laws to change his name to, hold your breath. ...Jitendra Kumar Tuli! Thank God he didn't agree!

We all know that Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and Mallika Sherawat are not the real names of these stars, but there are quite a few other famous stars who were born with names which they changed before hitting the screen. Here are a few: