Know Why Legendary Actor Dilip Kumar Changed His Name Before Foraying Into Bollywood

Know Why Legendary Actor Dilip Kumar Changed His Name Before Foraying Into Bollywood

Bollywood's Legendary Actor Dilip Kumar 


  • Dilip Kumar ji made his debut in Bollywood in 1944 and changed his name from Mohammad Yusuf Khan to Dilip Kumar.
  • He revealed the reason behind the change of name in his autobiography ‘Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow’.

It is all known that Bollywood's legendary actor Dilip Kumar ji passed away yesterday morning due to age-related health issues at the age of 98. His wife Saira Bhanu was all heart-broken and even Bollywood actor Dharmendra also was beside her during the funeral and consoled her in this tough time. Many Bollywood actors right from Shah Rukh Khan to Amitabh Bachchan mourned for his sudden demise and dropped heartfelt condolence messages on their social media pages.

Dilip Kumar ji was born in 1922 and forayed into Bollywood in 1944 and changed his name from Mohammad Yusuf Khan to Dilip Kumar. Well, whether there is an interesting story behind the name change. He mentioned the reason in his autobiography 'Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow'. He said Devika Rani suggested him to change his name. He recalled the incident in his autobiography and said, "She began with the usual courtesies of asking me whether I would care for some tea made specially for her from leaves she had purchased from the English store in the city. I was wondering what she had in mind when she came to the point, speaking in English, the language she was most fluent in. She said, quite matter-of-factly: 'Yousuf, I was thinking about your launch soon as an actor and I felt it would not be a bad idea if you adopted a screen name. You know, a name you would be known by and which will be very appropriate for your audience to relate to and one that will be in tune with the romantic image you are bound to acquire through your screen presence. I thought Dilip Kumar was a nice name. It just popped up in my mind when I was thinking about a suitable name for you. How does it sound to you?' I was speechless for a moment, being totally unprepared for the new identity she was proposing to me."

He also added, "I said it sounded nice but asked her whether it was really necessary. She gave her sweet smile and told me that it would be prudent to do so. She added that it was after considerable thought that she came to the conclusion of giving me a screen name. With her customary authority, she went on to tell me that she foresaw a long and successful career for me in films and it made good sense to have a screen identity that would stand up by itself and have a secular appeal. I was quick to appreciate her concern but I told her I needed to think about it a bit. She responded: 'Fine … come back to me with your thoughts.' 'We are now ready to begin preparations for your debut. So we must hurry up,' she said breezily as I rose from my seat to leave. I spent the rest of the day as per my routine but with the name Dilip Kumar ringing in my mind's inner recesses."

Finally, he concluded by saying, "I told S. Mukherjee Sahab (producer) about the suggestion that had come from Devika Rani. He reflected for a second and, looking me straight in the eye, said: 'I think she has a point. It will be in your interest to take the name she has suggested for the screen. It is a very nice name, though I will always know you by the name Yousuf like all your brothers and sisters and your parents.' (I later came to know that Ashok Kumar was the screen name of Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly.) I was touched and it was a validation that cleared my thoughts then and there".

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