A rose by any other name…

Bollywood (re)naming ritual has a long history. Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay (Hemant Kumar), Abhash Kumar Gangopadhyay (Kishore Kumar), Mahjabeen Bano (Meena Kumari), Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi (Madhubala), Fatima Rashid (Nargis Dutt)….. in most cases a simple sounding Hindi (Hindu) name will have done the trick.

Then came the next generation, pre-loaded with suitable (mononymous) names: Kajol (Mukherjee), Sonam (Kapoor), Rani (Mukherji) etc. For the rare outsider like Vidya (Balan) – our favorite lady – who has succeeded in gate crashing the (nepotism) fortress, the yukt-akshar (joined letters) does not roll easily off the tongue.

So far so good. But what is needed for an (very fair) English girl to turn into an Indian girl next door? Ayesha Shroff (Mrs Jackie Shroff) explains the transformation of a Turquotte into a (Ek Tha) Tiger:

Jackie Shroff’s wife Ayesha Shroff,
who produced Katrina’s debut film Boom, in a shocking interview to
Mumbai Mirror in 2011 was quoted saying, 

“Her passport says Turquotte.
We created an identity for her. She was this pretty young English girl,
and we gave her the Kashmiri father and thought of calling her Katrina
We thought we’d give her some kind of Indian ancestry, to connect
with the audience. Those times were different, now people are more

But then we thought that Kazi sounded too… religious? We were
to introduce her to the press and at that time, Mohammad Kaif was at
the top, and so we said, Katrina Kaif sounds really great. In fact, the
brochures for the press say Katrina Kazi. We passed that off saying, ‘Oh
that’s a printing mistake.”


Brown Pundits