What is in a name

Shakespeare said it. And we have lived with it. But there is a lot in a name. Shakespeare who in one of his theatre production (think Romeo & Juliet) said “What is in a name. A rose by any name will smell the same.”

I disagree. If that were so, why is Shah Rukh Khan always named ‘Rahul` in his movies? And why was Amitabh always named ‘Vijay` in his movies?
Why were these two men never named Ramaswamy (incidentally, that is my father`s name) or ChandraShekaran (coincidentally that is my father-in-law`s name)?

While on the topic of names in movies…we cannot ignore the fact that all male servants are named ‘Ramu`. Watchmen are always ‘Bahadur`.

One small Trivia: In the movies made in 1940s and 50s Ramu used to be the hero`s name.

When on the subject matter of watchmen…how can we forget the criminals? Those that are always named Peter, Tony and Robert. Ever wondered why the henchmen are always Christians? Some day I want to catch a movie-maker by his collar bone and question him on why they never name the henchmen…Shivnarain, Narayanamurthy or for that matter Balasubramanian.

Talking of Christian names in movies…when it is a Father in a church, he is always addressed as Father Francis. Sisters are always Sister Mary. Think about it…have you ever heard sisters being addressed as – Sister Miranda, Sister Teresa, Sister Meganalia or for that matter home grown Sister Kamala.

Our movies have always been masala items. A Hindi movie is ready if it has one romance, one item number, one villain, one comedian and one murder.

Talking of murder…the police inspectors are always Inspector Pandeys. The one movie that had a different name for an inspector was when Nana Patekar played Sadhu Agashe in Ab Tak Chhappan. The funny thing about that movie was…just because Nana Patekar`s name was not ‘Pandey` everybody went around saying that the movie was a lot different from the usual police flicks. They even called it Experimental.

The last time I heard an Indian heroine say her role in her yet-to-release movie was experimental, I asked her: “What is so special?”

She said: “I cut my hair short for the movie.”

Ever since, I have stopped watching her moves, leave alone movies.

Getting back to the whats-its-name….yeah…the whole naming business…I still wonder why all the Anglo-Indians in Hindi movies are called Gonzalves. And why are all poor Goan fishermen called Barganza?

This logical conclusion that names are important and there is more to them than mere smell …makes us wonder if Shakespeare was a fool. No…not the Hindi fool, the English fool!

By Jamshed V Rajan

Jammy, as Jamshed V Rajan is affectionately called, is a wannabe stand up comedian. He has a funny take on most things but documents only some of them. If you are interested in chatting up with him, do drop him an email at or message him at +919650080255.

One reply on “What is in a name”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *