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Artistes often adopt impressive stage names, and Bollywood stars are no exception. Sometimes they do that after consulting numerologists and astrologists, and sometimes they just want a more unique name. Some even change their last names to fit in. Here are 18 actors who changed their names, and went on to have thriving careers.

Katrina Kaif

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Katrina Turquotte adopted her Kashmiri father's surname, Kaif, because it is easier to pronounce.

Preity Zinta

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Before joining the film industry, Preity Zinta changed her name. She was called Preetam Singh Zinta at birth.

Salman Khan

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He was given a rather long name at birth - Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan.

Akshay Kumar

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Because Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia would have never become the Khiladi.

Ranveer Singh

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His full name is Ranveer Singh Bhavnani. He dropped the Bhavnani since it's long and not catchy enough.

Saif Ali Khan

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According to the marriage application filed by Saif and Kareena at the Bandra court, Saif is actually Sajid Ali Khan.

Mallika Sherawat

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She ditched her real name, Reema Lamba, before joining Bollywood.


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This legendary actor was Shivaji Rao Gaekwad at birth. He was rechristened by the director of his debut film, K Balachander.

Shilpa Shetty

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She was Ashwini Shetty before joining Bollywood. Her mother, an astrologer, suggested the name change for luck.

Amitabh Bachchan

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Late poet, Harivansh Rai, used Bachchan as his pen name. Their surname was Srivastava, and hence Amitabh was named Inquilab Srivastava.

John Abraham

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He was born Farhan. But, for some reason, he changed it to John before joining Bollywood.

Dilip Kumar

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Things were different in the Hindi film industry back in the 1940s, when Muhammad Yusuf Khan started his acting career. To gain the acceptance of a larger audience, several actors changed their names, and Dilip Kumar was one of them.


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Born Bhanurekha Ganesan, she acted in many films with that name before changing it to just Rekha.

Rajkummar Rao

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He acted in a few films as Raj Kumar, and as Raj Kumar Yadav in a few others. He changed his name to Rajkummar Rao to avoid confusion with the actor Rajpal Yadav.

Ajay Devgn

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He was given the name Vishal Devgan at birth. He opted to go by Ajay before joining Bollywood, and a few years ago, changed the spelling of his surname for numerological reasons.

Sunny Leone

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Sunny was born Karenjit Kaur Vohra, which she changed before joining the adult film industry.

Sunny Deol

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This Sunny also changed his name before making it big in Bollywood. He was born as Ajay Singh Deol.

Mithun Chakraborty

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The reigning Disco king of Bollywood in the 80s, Mithun Da, was Gourango Chakraborty before he joined Bollywood.


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