Born Reema Lamba, she changed her name with both confidence and prescience, choosing the name because it means 'Empress.' Sherawat is her mother's maiden name. Not that there's anything wrong with the name Reema, but the way she towers over industry standards makes the Mallika name perfectly appropriate
This one isn't technically a change of name, but then any excuse for sticking Yana into the middle of a babes-only slideshow works, doesn't it? Born Jana Synkova, the Czech girl took on the Gupta tag after her wedding to painter Satyakam Gupta, and sticks to it despite their formal separation in 2005.
Born Nandita Morarji, Nagma hit peak in the 1990s, when she dominated Tamil Cinema. Earlier, her Bollywood innings opened strongly, her Salman-starrer debut Baaghi emerging as a huge hit. Yet she shifted to Tamil and Telugu cinema, and her Tamil Nadu fans even erected a temple in her honour. Nowadays, she's a major star in Bhojpuri cinema.
When Subhash Ghai launched Ritu Choudhury, she was quick to change her name -- since the showman had made stars out of actresses with names starting with M, like Madhuri Dixit and Manisha Koirala. Pardes was a big smash, but despite some brief bursts of success in the late 90s, her career never quite took off. Guess the M wasn't enough
Shabana Raza was working on her first film, Kareeb, when director Vidhu Vinod Chopra started constantly referring to her by the name of her character, Neha. The name stuck and he even credited her as Neha, and things. Neha married Manoj Bajpai in 2005.
Born to an English father and a Muslim mother, Yasmeen Roy made her debut with Raj Kapoor's much-criticised Ram Teri Ganga Maili when she was just 16. She had a couple of hits -- like Dance Dance opposite Mithun Chakraborty -- but nothing could capture the public's interest like the wet white sari she wore in her first film.
Born Mumtaz Begum Jehan Dehlavi to a Pashtun family, she was the fifth of eleven children. Starting her career at the age of nine, Mumtaz worked as a successful child artiste for several years until she blossomed into a fine beauty and actress Devika Rani advised her to change her name to Madhubala. The change came into effect with Neel Kamal, where she starred opposite Raj Kapoor. She was fourteen, and the critical applause was deafening. The rest, of course, is history.
Mahjabeen Bano was the third daughter born to Sunni Muslim parents. Her mother used to be a stage actress and dancer, and following Mahjabeen's birth, her father was trying to break into movies. Mahjabeen was ushered into the profession as a child artiste, billed as 'Baby Meena.' By the time she grew older -- and her name naturally progressed from Baby to Lady Meena -- she was the sole breadwinner for the family.
Born to Tamil acting legend Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli, Bhanurekha Ganesan did not reveal her origins until the mid-70s, when she was trying to break into Bollywood. She did phenomenally well through the end-70s and the 80s, doing memorably with many a superhit opposite Amitabh Bachchan
Born Lalita Rani to the family of a Telugu film financier, she was 14 when a dance recital at her school led to an impressed producer offering her a musical number in Telugu film Bhoomi Kosam. The rushes of that 3-minute song were enough for other big name filmmakers to start approaching her, and she emerged as a great southern star of the 70s. Hindi success came to her in the 80s, and director Satyajit Ray called her one of the prettiest women in the world.
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