Pen names and stage names are nothing new, but the difference between and the reason behind, some of these Bollywood celebrities and their real names can still catch us off guard.
There are many reasons why singers, writers, actors, etc., adopt different names. Sometimes, it is to sound more trendy, sometimes to be accepted better by society, sometimes just to be remembered easily, and at times the reasons are entirely too personal. These Bollywood celebrities and their real names are not much different in that regard. It is fascinating to see how their names shaped their journey and their image in our heads and how different it could have otherwise been.11 Bollywood celebrities and their real names:
- Inquilaab Srivastava (Amitabh Bachchan) It is difficult to imagine this leading man of Bollywood as anything other than Amitabh Bachchan. After all, his name has become synonymous with the peak of success and longevity one can hope for from a Bollywood career. His original name, 'Inquilaab,' was inspired by the freedom revolution of India. His father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, later changed his name to Amitabh over a suggestion by a friend and fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant.
- Jai Hemant Shroff (Tiger Shroff) He's one of the breakthrough stars of the decade and is slowly on his way to becoming a household name. It is not difficult to believe that his given name is not 'Tiger,' while easy to remember and makes him stand out, it has the ring of a stage name.
- Katrina Turquotte (Katrina Kaif) Katrina is also in the list of Bollywood celebrities and their real names despite not toying with her first name. She adopted her father's last name because it was easier to pronounce (and is frankly more memorable as it is alliterative), despite not having any relationship with her father.
- Govind Arun Ahuja (Govinda) This superstar, at the peak of his career, redefined comedy and dancing in Bollywood cinemas. So much so, the name 'Govinda' has become synonymous with an entire era of films. It is difficult to imagine his full name as anything other than the beloved Govinda, but his birth name is Govind Arun Ahuja.
- Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia (Akshay Kumar) One of the more dramatic changes in this list of 'Bollywood celebrities and their real names,' Akshaya Kumar's given name was Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia. A while after he kickstarted his career, he legally changes his name to Akshay Kumar. Akshay Kumar was a lot easier to remember and more marketable. Although he later named his successful production house after his given name, and it is called 'Hari Om Entertainment.
- Shahid Khattar (Shahid Kapoor) Although most of us know him as Shahid Kapoor, his legal name changed to Shahid Khattar when his mother married actor Rajesh Khattar. According to sources, he still uses Khattar as his last name in his passport. He uses the last name Kapoor mostly due to his biological father Pankaj Kapoor's reputation in the industry and the general impact of the 'Kapoor' title on the audience.
- John Prakasa Rao Janumala (Johnny Lever) Unlike other names in the list, Johnny Lever did not deliberately choose this name for himself. He was performing at a Hindustan Lever Limited company function when many workers, impressed with his performance, gave him the name Johnny Lever. While Lever was never what one would consider a 'leading man' in cinema, he has created a legacy of his own in Indian cinema and Indian stand-up comedy. With how beloved he has always been to the general public, isn't it fitting that his name was given to him by his audience?
- Vishal Veeru Devgan (Ajay Devgn) Ajay Devgn comes from a family of filmmakers, so it is no surprise that he understands the need to be unique and marketable in the industry. At the time of his debut, there were quite a few actors with the name of Vishal active in the industry, so he decided to change his name to Ajay. Later he changed his surname to 'Devgn' from 'Devgan' as his family advised him to do so.
- Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan (Sridevi) It is difficult to believe that this talented actress is not among us today, but one thing is for sure is that in her lifetime, she gave her best to the craft of filmmaking and acting. She started acting when she was just four years of age and, as it can be concluded, had held on to her popular stage name, Sridevi, for her entire life. While in this long career and fruitful career, her full name hasn't been a secret. Even today, most fans know her as Sridevi and Sridevi only.
- Farhan Abraham (John Abraham) John Abraham's birth name is Farhan Abraham. It is a Parsi name given to him by his mother's family. For his career, though, John stuck to the biblical name given to him by his father. It is speculated that the reason for the change was the fact that there are quite a few Farhan's in the industry and quite popular actors at that.
- Bhanurekha Ganeshan - Rekha This popular actress first appeared on the screen when she was only one year old and diligently contributed to the acting industry ever since. Because she is so private about her family life and her personal life, a lot is not known about why she chooses to go by Rekha. Most general speculations conclude that it is probably due to the ease of pronunciation and memorability of her stage name 'Rekha.'
These were some Bollywood celebrities and their real names. While some changes seem sensible and others a bit too dramatic, it cannot be denied that each of these names has had a huge impact on the careers of these superstars. It is also interesting to note how actors let go of family feuds while choosing their popular names, goes on to show how important it is in Bollywood to have a name that can pack a punch and stay in people's memories