If you thought that having a pretty face and remarkable acting skills is enough for aspiring artists to get a direct ticket into the entertainment industry, you’re in for a surprise. It takes more than just skills. From Lady Gaga to Miley Cyrus in the West to Madhubala and Sridevi back home, they all have one thing in common – their stage name. Dozens of actors and actresses opt to change their real names or birth names before finding their way to the spotlight. Usually, they moniker themselves with names that are unique but at the same time easy to remember. Think about it, would you remember the name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta? I’d say pass. (That’s Lady Gaga’s real name, by the way).
Irrespective of what Shakespeare had to say, there are many actors and actresses who believed that changing their name would get them closer to fame. We don’t know if it’s the name that does the magic or if it’s their lucky stars (and talent, of course), but whatever it is, looks like it works! Here’s a list of Bollywood divas who changed their names before they stepped into the world of fame.
1. Kat Turquotte
Katrina Kaif, one of the highest paid actresses of Bollywood was actually monikered Kat Turquotte by her parents. She decided to change her name before stepping into Bollywood. However, her former name, Kat, remains her nickname in the industry. Well, aren’t we glad that we didn’t have to memorize that tongue-twister of a name? If you ask us, it doesn’t matter what the name is when you’ve got looks like that.
2. Ashwini Shetty
Yeah, you read that right! Ashwini Shetty is the real name of this beauty. Her journey from Ashwini to Shilpa was the one written in stars, quite literally. Owing to her strong belief in astrology, Shilpa Shetty changed her name very early on in her career. Before she stepped into the world of modeling, she decided to turn the stars in her favor and adopt her current moniker. Ever since there’s been no looking back for her. As they say, the rest is history!
3. Preetam Singh
Remember this bubbly, chirpy, and vivacious actress who filled up our screens with energy? Before she took a break from the screen, her screen presence was considered to be synonymous with a breath of fresh air. Preity Zinta believed that the name her parents gave her was too masculine to be associated with a pretty face. So, she decided to change it to Preity Zinta. Now, don’t you think that’s good enough? (wink-wink)
4. Ritu Chaudhary
If you didn’t know this already, she was gifted the moniker Mahima Chaudhary by the director Subash Ghai. Now, there’s an interesting fact here. From Madhuri Dixit to Manisha Koraila, Ghai believed that the actresses whose name started with the letter M brought him good luck. And hence, he advised Ritu Chaudhary to change her name to Mahima.
5. Reema Lamba
Reema Lamba stuck to her original name until her first debut film. Soon after, she opted for the screen name Mallika, as she believed that her personality was no less than that of a queen’s. Also, there was another actress with the same name (Reema), so Mallika decided to change her name to avoid any confusion. Her second name, Sherawat, was actually her mother’s maiden name and she decided to keep that as a tribute to her mother for her love, support, and care.
6. Bhanurekha Ganeshan
The timeless beauty, the epitome of elegance and panache, Rekha, was actually named Bhanukrekha Ganeshan by her parents. This versatile actress who is known for her eternal beauty changed her name to Rekha when she entered the world of entertainment. Her only concern was to ensure that her name sounded as classy as her fine performances. Well, looks like it did the trick!
7. Mumtaz Jehan Begum
Who doesn’t remember her mesmerizing smile and elegant dance moves? Her beauty was not just admired, it was obsessed over. Many actors (and fans) were quite crazily in love with her beauty and adaa. Well, look at her, it’s justified isn’t it? All that beauty, without botox or fillers or cosmetic procedures, that’s something, isn’t it? However, Madhubala wasn’t always her name. After the movie Neel Kamal, she changed her name from Mumtaz Jehan Begum to Madhubala – a name that made history.
8. Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan
The Late actress Sridevi started her career as a child artist at the tender age of 4. She established herself in not just Bollywood, but also regional movies like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. But before she became the legend, her real name was Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan. Think about that.
Irrespective of their stage names, these divas carved a name for themselves in the industry. Their fandom and their repertoire of work is enough evidence of that. After all, it’s not just about the name, is it? Would you change your name for fame? Let us know in the comments below.