Names hold immense significance in our lives. They are not just labels but also carry cultural, historical, and personal meanings. However, there have been instances where individuals, driven by various reasons, have chosen to change name in India.
Which famous personalities changed their names in India?
In India, a land rich in diverse cultures and traditions, there are several famous personalities who have changed names, either for professional reasons or personal preferences. Let’s take a closer look at some of these individuals and the stories behind their name changes.
Amitabh Bachchan (formerly Inquilaab Srivastava)
One of the most iconic actors in the Indian film industry, Amitabh Bachchan, was born as Inquilaab Srivastava. In the early years of his acting career, he struggled to find success and faced constant rejection. Feeling that his birth name was not bringing him the desired luck, he decided to adopt the stage name “Amitabh Bachchan.” This change proved to be a turning point in his life, as he went on to become a legendary actor and a true Bollywood superstar.
Rajinikanth (formerly Shivaji Rao Gaekwad)
The superstar of the South Indian film industry, Rajinikanth, was originally named Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. Before his foray into acting, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor in Bangalore. It was during this time that he decided to enter the film industry. To establish a unique identity, he changed his name to Rajinikanth, inspired by his admiration for the legendary actor, Raj Kumar. The decision proved to be fruitful, and Rajinikanth’s charisma and larger-than-life persona made him a beloved figure in Indian cinema.
Lata Mangeshkar (formerly Hema Mangeshkar)
Lata Mangeshkar, often referred to as the “Nightingale of India,” was born as Hema Mangeshkar. She hails from a family deeply rooted in the music industry, and her father, Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a renowned classical vocalist. In order to avoid confusion with her sister, Asha Bhosle, who was also pursuing a career in music, Hema Mangeshkar changed her name to Lata. This decision not only allowed her to establish her unique identity but also paved the way for a remarkable singing career that spanned over seven decades.
Akshay Kumar (formerly Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia)
Akshay Kumar, known for his versatility and action-packed performances, was born as Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia. Before entering the film industry, he worked as a chef in Bangkok. When he decided to pursue a career in acting, he felt that his original name was too long and lacked mass appeal. Inspired by his passion for martial arts, he changed his name to Akshay Kumar. The change brought him immense success, and he went on to become one of the highest-paid actors in India.
Mallika Sherawat (formerly Reema Lamba)
Mallika Sherawat, known for her bold and glamorous image, was born as Reema Lamba. She hailed from a small village in Haryana and dreamt of making it big in the entertainment industry. To distance herself from her conservative background and embrace a new identity, she changed her name to Mallika Sherawat. The decision helped her break into the film industry, and she gained recognition for her roles in movies like “Murder” and “Khwahish.”
Dilip Kumar (formerly Muhammad Yusuf Khan)
Dilip Kumar, considered one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema, was originally named Muhammad Yusuf Khan. His journey in the film industry began in the early 1940s when he made his debut in the film “Jwar Bhata.” However, he felt that his birth name did not resonate well with the Hindi film industry at that time, which was predominantly Hindu-centric. To establish a wider appeal and create a distinct persona, he decided to change his name to Dilip Kumar. This decision proved to be pivotal in his career, as he went on to deliver unforgettable performances in iconic films such as “Mughal-e-Azam,” “Devdas,” and “Naya Daur.”
Rekha (formerly Bhanurekha Ganesan)
Rekha, known for her mesmerising beauty and versatile acting prowess, was born as Bhanurekha Ganesan. She comes from a family deeply associated with the film industry, with her father being the legendary actor Gemini Ganesan. In the early years of her career, she faced criticism for her unconventional looks and struggled to find acceptance. Determined to redefine herself, she changed her name to Rekha. Along with her name change, she underwent a transformation and became an enigmatic figure in the Indian film industry, delivering remarkable performances in films like “Umrao Jaan” and “Khubsoorat.”
Guru Dutt (formerly Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone)
Guru Dutt, a renowned filmmaker, and actor, was born as Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone. He started his career in the film industry as a choreographer before making a mark as a director and actor. To avoid confusion with another actor named Vasanth Kumar, he adopted the name Guru Dutt. Under this name, he directed and acted in critically acclaimed films like “Pyaasa,” “Kaagaz Ke Phool,” and “Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam.” Guru Dutt’s unique cinematic style and artistic vision earned him a special place in Indian cinema.
Vidya Balan (formerly Vidya P. Balan)
Vidya Balan, known for her powerful performances and breaking stereotypes, was originally named Vidya P. Balan. She began her acting career in television before making her mark in Bollywood. Feeling that her name lacked a unique identity and was too common, she decided to drop the initial “P” and became Vidya Balan. This change coincided with her breakthrough film “Parineeta,” and Vidya Balan went on to establish herself as a versatile and critically acclaimed actress, delivering exceptional performances in movies like “The Dirty Picture,” “Kahaani,” and “Tumhari Sulu.”
Preity Zinta (formerly Preetam Singh Zinta)
Preity Zinta, known for her effervescent charm and vivacious screen presence, was born as Preetam Singh Zinta. Coming from a traditional Sikh family, she decided to pursue a career in acting and moved to Mumbai. In the process, she changed her name to Preity Zinta. The decision to adopt a more accessible and catchy name contributed to her popularity in the film industry. Preity Zinta gained recognition for her performances in films like “Dil Se,” “Kal Ho Naa Ho,” and “Veer-Zaara.”
How to change name online in India?
Changing one’s name in India involves a legal process, and online platforms like eDrafter.in provide comprehensive assistance for a hassle-free experience. eDrafter.in offers a range of services, from drafting the name change affidavit to facilitating newspaper publication and gazette notification. Through their user-friendly website, individuals can easily fill out the necessary forms and provide the required details. eDrafter.in ensures that the entire name change process is conducted legally and efficiently, saving individuals the time and effort of navigating the complex procedures themselves. With their expert guidance, individuals can confidently undergo a name change and embrace their new identity in a smooth and legally compliant manner.
These are just a few examples of famous personalities in India who chose to change their names to redefine themselves or create a distinct identity. By altering their names, these individuals embarked on transformative journeys that shaped their careers and helped them leave an indelible mark on the Indian entertainment industry. Their stories serve as a reminder that a name can hold immense power and sometimes changing it can be a catalyst for success, self-discovery, and reinvention.
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