List of 8 Muslim actors who adopted Hindu screen names to succeed in Bollywood

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Recently, BJP leader Arun Yadav belittled late actor Dilip Kumar for changing his name in a tweet marking his demise. Yadav took a jibe at the late legend by saying:

The death of Mohammad Yusuf Khan (Dilip Kumar), who earned money by keeping a Hindu name in the film world, is an irreparable loss to the Indian film industry.

In response to the tweet, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar tweeted:

Shame on you.

It is pertinent to note that Dilip Kumar is not the only Muslim actor who changed his name upon venturing into acting. A trove of actors and actresses changed their original names to more attractive and trendier names when joining the Indian film industry.

Here is a list of renowned Muslim actors with Hindu screen names:1. Meena Kumari (Mahjabeen Bano)

Meena Kumari was the Tragedy Queen of the film industry. Born as Mahjabeen Bano in 1933, the actress was renamed by director Vijay Bhatt in 1939 to ‘Baby Meena’ when she performed as a child star. Her name later transformed into Meena Kumari. Described as the historically incomparable actress of Indian cinema, Meena Kumari enjoyed a career spanning 33 years. She starred in about 92 films such as Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Pakeezah, Mere Apne, Aarti, Baiju Bawra, Parineeta, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Foot Path, Dil Ek Mandir, and Kaajal.

2. Dilip Kumar (Muhammad Yusuf Khan)

Dilip Kumar was born as Mohammad Yusuf Khan to a Pashtun family in Peshawar, Pakistan. He joined Bollywood after assisting the script department of Bombay Talkies, where he met Devika Rani. She requested him to change his name to Dilip Kumar, following which he nabbed the leading role in Jwar Bhata. Referred to as the “Tragedy King” for his portrayal of serious roles, Dilip Kumar earned a massive name after hit movies like Jugnu, Daag, Devdas, Mughal-e-Azam, Andaaz, Aan, and Gunga Jamuna.

3. Madhubala (Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi)

Born as Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi in 1933 to a Pashtun family in Swabi, Pakistan, Madhubala was dubbed the “Venus of Indian cinema” because of her beauty and grace. She was also regarded as “The Beauty with Tragedy”. Madhubala appeared in 60 films in a career spanning over 20 years. She emerged as one of Bollywood’s most bankable stars with starring roles in highly successful films such as Lal Dupatta, Mahal, Tarana, Chalti ka Naam Gadi, Barsaat ki Raat, Mughal-e-Azam, and Half Ticket.

4. Sanjay (Shah Abbas Khan)

Shah Abbas Khan started using the name Sanjay in films like Dosti, Haqeeqat, and Dus Lakh, following which he suffixed his onscreen name with ‘Khan’. Sanjay became an actor and director of repute in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. He shifted his focus on television in the late 1980s, directing and starring in the big-budget historical television drama series The Sword of Tipu Sultan, The Great Maratha, Jai Hanuman, and 1857 Kranti.

5. Arjun (Firoz Khan)

Arjun, who was born as Firoz Khan, is best known for playing the character of Arjun in BR Chopra’s televised adaptation of the ancient Indian epic, Mahabharata. His success in this production led him to adopt his onscreen name. From there on, the actor starred in many television and film projects, including Manzil Manzil, Khatron Ke Khiladi, Karan Arjun, Jodi no. 1, Yug, and Vishnu Puran.

6. Jagdeep (Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jaffery)

Comic actor Jagdeep’s birth name was Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jaffery. He started his career as a child artist in director BR Chopra’s Afsana in 1951. At the request of director Bimal Roy, he changed his name to Jagdeep while staring in Do Bigha Zamin. The actor appeared in more than 400 films, including Sholay, Purana Mandir, Andaz Apna Apna, Brahmachari, Bhabi, and Bindiya.

7. Jayant (Zakaria Khan)

Born to a Pashtun family in Peshawar in 1915, Zakaria Khan ventured into acting with the movie Lal Chitta (1935). Producer-director Vijay Bhatt pushed the actor to change his name to Jayant. From there on, Jayant starred in many movies like Simon, Heer Ranjha, Maa aur Maamta, Anmol Moti, Zindagi, Naya Andaaz, and Watan. He is also the father of popular actor Amjad Khan.

8. Ajit (Hamid Ali Khan)

Born as Hamid Ali Khan, Ajit started his acting career with the film Kurukshetra. The actor initially used his real name, but during the production of his film Bekasoor, the director K Amarnath bestowed him with the name Ajit. Soon the actor became famous for his villainous roles in Bollywood films such as Criminal, Gangster, Aadmi, Daulat me Dushman, Khoon aur Pani, Ram Balram, and Charas.

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