This is how Sanjeev Kumar got his pseudonym

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Do you know why actor Sanjeev Kumar adopted his pseudonym? While he himself believed that his real name Harihar Jethalal Jariwala did not suit an aspiring actor, famous director Kamal Amrohi suggested that he should have a unique and impressive screen identity.

Actor playwright Hanif Zaveri and insolvency attorney Sumant Batra have published an authoritative biography of the two-time National Award-winning actor titled An Actor’s Actor in which they provide several interesting anecdotes about him.

During his early days, Jariwala would often say that his name “did not suit an aspiring actor” and discuss with his friends the different possible names he could adopt.

“He decided that it should start with the letter ‘S’, since his mother’s name starts with an ‘S’ (Shantaben), and should end with ‘Kumar’ as most actor names end with ‘Kumar’. After grueling debate and discussion, the name ‘Sanjay Kumar’ received unanimous approval, and Hari was credited in both ‘Ramat Ramade Ram’ and ‘Aao Pyar Karen’ by this name, ” says the book, published by Penguin Random House.

While Jariwala was filming for Nishan, he met up with versatile writer-producer-director Amrohi, who asked him to come to Filmistan Studio Goregaon the next day to discuss two new films he was currently working on – Aakhri Din Pehli Raat and Shankar Hussain. (1977).

Shankar Hussain was to be Jariwala’s next project.

“When Hari went to meet Amrohi, he was told to do a screen test with some difficult dialogue in Urdu. The always diligent Hari delivered the dialogue in four different ways. Strongly impressed with Hari’s confidence, Amrohi suggested that Hari works with his assistant Baqar to polish his Urdu, ”say the authors.

The hiccups with Jariwala’s name returned with Amrohi.

The director told him that his name was not impressive enough for an actor and decided to change Jariwala’s screen name to that of Gautam Rajvansh and Vidya Manjrekar (who first played the protagonist’s sister and then played the main role) in Al-Saheba, says the book.

Both actors accepted Amrohi’s suggestion and Jariwala refrained from telling him that he had already chosen Sanjay Kumar as his screen name, he said.

Unfortunately, a day before filming began, the lead actress withdrew from filming. Extremely caught up by Pakeezah (1972), in which his wife Meena Kumari played a central role, Amrohi cast aside “Shankar Hussain” after a few hits with Vidya as the new lead. “

Badal and Nishan were both on the floor when Sanjay Khan’s hit movie “Dosti” (1964) came out and it instantly became a household name. Jariwala was once again in a dilemma, as two Sanjays couldn’t rule the screen at the same time.

Aspi Irani advised him to change his name again. Hari was reluctant as two of his films had already been released under the name Sanjay Kumar. However, ‘Aao Pyar Karen’ focused on Joy Mukherjee, and ‘Ramat Ramade Ram’ was a regional film He decided to take a chance and Sanjeev Kumar was born, “the authors write.

Now that her name was fixed, the only other thing that needed to be corrected was her appearance. Jariwala put away his signature kurta pajamas and bought a red T-shirt and white pants for interviews with directors and producers.

The authors also mention how Jariwala knew his fate was irrevocably tied to Indian cinema, but there were many obstacles between him and his goal. “Overcoming most of them required divine intervention, but some, like his voice, he believed he could work at.”

According to his guide CH Intwala, Jariwala was worried about his “weak voice”.

Jariwala worked hard on her dialogue delivery, practicing the same lines in different pitches and tones and modulating them with different tones of emotional intensity. Intwala supervised his reading-dialogue sessions every evening.

“At the time, Hari had no idea that the voice he was trying to change would one day help him carve out a place in the world of cinema, and, later, become a staple for artists. mimicists, although they would find it nearly impossible to replicate the various nuances that affected its tone, ”the book says.

It also describes Kumar’s first role in Hum Hindustani (1960), starring Sunil Dutt and Asha Parekh.

“After being approached, Hari immediately accepted the offer to play a police inspector for Rs 12 per shift. Hari’s role had no dialogue, but he gave it one hundred percent; it was his first time facing the camera after all. says the book.

“Rs12 per shift was a good amount of money for Hari. He was proud of what he had earned and was delighted to hand over his hard earned money to his mother. Her approval meant the most to him. Delighted, Shantaben took Hari to Mumba Devi temple in Zaveri Bazaar and donated part of his income to the temple fund, ”he says.

The book has a preface by actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha.

READ ALSO | Remembering Sanjeev Kumar: Interesting Facts You Should Know


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