What’s In a Name….

How important is a name? While the great English Playwright, William Shakespeare cared a damn for a name. He believed a rose would be the same and smell as sweet by any other name. But it seems the Hindi film industry disagrees with the great English literature marvel. 

According to some the Kapoor Khandaan scion Armaan Jain, failed because of his name. Some feel if he had opted for ‘Kapoor’ surname or even a ‘Kumar’ or ‘Khan’ would have guaranteed him a success. That’s the reason most of the Hindi film industry stars prefer a trendy name to their original orthodox one. Hence we have a Hari Krishna Goswami becoming Manoj Kumar or famous actor Chunky Pandey dropping his original name Suyush Sharat Chandrakant Deshpandey

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Do you know who was the first actor to initiate this trend was? Well, he was legendary actor, Ashok Kumar. Few know that his original name was Kumudlal Kanjilal Ganguly but filmmaker Himanshu Rai felt it sounded too rural hence he replaced it with a more stylish name in his first film JEEVAN NAIYA. 

Another unknown aspect regarding names is that in the ’60s, the surname that ruled the roust was Kumar but with the advent of the ’90s, the surname that grabbed prominence was Khan.

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However, readers would be stunned to know that in the ’40s, the surname Khan was a taboo! Reason was the British government’s famous policy ‘Divide and rule’. The sparks of this policy was so intense that even the otherwise secular film industry was affected. Hence filmmakers changed the names of their Muslim actors to conceal their real identity. The first actor to thus alter his name was Dilip Kumar who was known as Mohammed Yusuf Sarwar Khan since birth. 

Even in the South Film Industry famous actors changed their names Viz. Rajnikant - Shivaji Rao Gaikwad and Chiranjeevi - Koindela Siva Shankara vara Prasad

• Following is a glimpse of a few original names: 

Akshay Kumar- Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia

Danny -Tshering Phintso Denzongpa

Johnny Lever - Janardhan Rao

Katrina Kaif- Katrina Turqouis

Ajay Devgan - Vishal Devgan

Rajesh Khanna Jatin Khanna

Dev Anand - Devdutt Pishorimal Anand

Sanjeev Kumar - Haribhai Jariwala

Gulzar - Sampooran Singh

Amitabh Bachchan - Amitabh Shrivastav Bachchan

Kishore Kumar - Aabhas Ganguly

Jeetendra - Ravi Kapoor

Rekha - Bhanurekha Ganeshan

Jaya Prada - Lalita Rani

Ajit - Hamid Ali Khan

Jayant (father of Amjad Khan) - Jhakeriya Khan

Madhubala - Mumtaaz Jahan

Meena Kumari - Mahjabeen Ali Baksh

Nargis Dutt - Kaneez Fatima

Shyama - Khurseed Akhtar

Mandakini - Yasmini

Johny Walker - Badruddin Kazi

Reena Roy - Saira Khan