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
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.
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