Saturday, May 22, 2010


My obsession with names, surnames and nicknames is a bit compulsive though it has not reached up to the stage of being a disorder , so as to make me a victim of OCD , a much talked about psychological condition these days.

Names do matter and we love them too . Sometimes they get stuck up with personality traits , and define the person . Bollywood has introduced us to many such prototypes. For example, if we just think of old movies, we find that a rich man or a seth is invariably named Dhani Ram , Dhanraj or Badri.: every spoiled brat had to be named Vicky and the quintessential mother , a Janki, Sheela, or Sushila., as the case may be. And Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay epitomzed the Angry Young Man

Names are sometimes suggestive too. , like in Bimal Roy's film Sujata, the heroine , played by Nutan , even though born a dalit is named Sujata , and the hero Sunil Datt falls head over heels for her instead of the glamorous and beautiful Shashi Kala, whose, name in the film I am not able to recall.

Some characters in the films become memorable because of the peculiar names assigned to them. Malang Chacha of Upkar, Daku Kehar Singh in Shaheed - both played by Pran , Mogambo – played by Amrish Puri and others like Gabbar Singh , Shaakaal etc. etc .

The film heroes and heroines had assumed names- Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Manoj Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar , Madubala, Meena Kumari , Sulochana at once come to mind. Adding of extra letters to existing names or having odd spellings is the modern trend.

Authors and poets suffix the names of their birth place to their names or pen names. Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Shakeel Badaayuni Raahat Indori, Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri are some of the prominent examples.
In my childhood, every other boy in the neighbour hood or otherwise was nicknamed Teetu , perhaps after Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia , who in a sense was a political follower as well as a great admirer of Nehru and was in the news most of the time.
It was not uncommon to call a rich man Tata or Birla .
In old times it was customary to have a name with Ram or Lal or Chand or Kumar suffixed to it . Interestingly , the popularity of Ram was explained thus- bulatey huey is bahaney Bhagwan ka naam toh liya jayega. So a person , on the deathbed , however crooked and wicked he may have been , by calling out to his son named Ram or Krishan , by this single utterance would for sure land in heaven !


  1. Exactly sir... Not only films but writers also spend a lot of time for the selection of the names. In an interview JK Rowling (writer of Harry Potter Seris) has revealed that the names in her novel has some relation the character. So it is It is Name All the way...

    And u have missed Bharat Kumar ups Manoj Kumar.

  2. Sure, I have missed Bharat Kumar, though Manoj Kumar does find mention here.
    Bharti ji aap bhi qayamat ki nazar rakhtey hain aur buddhi bhi !

  3. back to name again. GoooooD. Many a time one's works go against their names-liaq Ram may do 'nalike' things. Naam ke dhani Ram, kaam ke 'kungal', naam ke 'nayan sukah' ankh ke andhe. very lively discussion again.

  4. You are right Bali ji . It is the good deeds rather than pompous names that matter. More of it later on.