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What's in a Name?

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Carl Linnaeus, the famous taxonomist, who had propounded the scientific classification of plants and animals, about three centuries ago in a different context, had said that if one does not know the name of the things, then knowledge about it is lost as well. This seems to be the guiding principle for the film stars, be it in Hollywood or in Hindi cinema that they try to stick to the name, which has given them a cult status through out their career.

So a John MacLean for Bruce Willis is still a passport to success, though it was given to him for the first time around fifteen years ago, but it has sort of become a second skin for him. For Sylvester Stallone John Rambo was the name that gave him the widest publicity and the maximum number of mileage at the box office. Interestingly enough, most of the actors who play the role of a police authority have character names as John, so much so that John in Hollywood is synonymous with a person who is a part of the law enforcement system.

On the Hindi film front this trend was started by Raj Kapoor who continued to use the name of Raj through out his career in one form or the other, it was symptomatic with the lost lover boy image that he unconsciously cultivated. Shammi Kapoor was rather fascinated with the name Sunder, and he has this name quite a number of times in his career. Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar where not that much enamored with the business of name and they had different names, but they also used Sunder as the name in a film. Probably in the time that they were working Sunder was a name in vogue so its frequent usage.

Amitabh Bachchan gave a new twist to the business of name, when he became hit as Vijay. Henceforth he was Vijay in nearly all the films and in a very few instances he chose a different name. Vijay was Amitabh and Amitabh was Vijay. There were no two questions asked. He also promoted the name of his clan through his films and was sort of instrumental in popularizing the clan to which he belongs in a big way. There was a belief associated with Vijay that if the character was named Vijay the success was ensured. Surprisingly enough, none of the other characters took this name during the time AB was ruling roost, and Vijay became synonymous with AB.

The advent of Shah Rukh Khan on the Indian silver screen brought back the name Raj once again with a bang, and he was able to establish the name Raj as being symptomatic of love. Interestingly enough, during this phase Raj did not remain the prerogative of Shah Rukh as Vijay was with AB. But other than Shah Rukh, those who used this name could not taste the success falling in their lap in the same manner as it did with AB.

Other Khan, Salman Khan has sought of patented Prem as being the name which is associated with him. So in nearly all his films since the PATTHAR KE PHOOL days, he is Prem in all his films. Interestingly enough, Prem as a name was given immense popularity by Prem Chopra when he had uttered this dialogue in BOBBY, "Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra" and that is how he popularized the name in the minds of people. It was indeed a courageous decision on the part of Salman Khan to pick up this name and popularize as being a name associated with a lover boy, the image he consciously has been cultivating since his earlier days. Salman has now patented this name for himself. One exception in this business has been Aamir Khan who has used all sorts of names and most audacious being Raghu Jaitley in DIL HAI KI MANTA NAHIN.

Names as they have evolved have assumed the generic proposition and it is the species in the form of actors across generations who adopt it, as Raj has been done by Shah Rukh, and Vijay has started being used by Abhishek in short form as Jai and he has started getting recognized through DHOOM series.



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