Dilip Kumar: Why did he change his Muslim name?

With the demise of Dilip Kumar, social media is today witnessing some political debates. The reason is that the legendary actor belonged to an era when India was emerging from the horrors of religion-based Partition.

Several Netizens remembered that Dilip Kumar was born Mohammed Yusuf Khan. It’s held that he had to change his name because he feared that people might not accept him if they see him as a Muslim star. Those who believe in this line say that India has changed for good since the late 1980s, when Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan became huge stars.

But others say that Dilip Kumar didn’t change his name due to any communal apprehensions. “Yusuf Khan did not change his name to counter religious prejudice. Lots of actors, both Hindu and Muslim, used to change their names in the 40s and 50s, to ensure it is easier on the tongue and catchier,” says columnist Srikanth Krishnamacharya.

There is also a reference to the time when Dilip Kumar had to personally call on Prime Minister Nehru to ensure that his film ‘Ganga Jamuna’ gets released without the 250 cuts imposed by the then I&B Minister. It’s said that Nehru removed the curbs and allowed the film to release after the actor agreed to campaign for a high-profile Congress candidate during Lok Sabha elections in 1961.

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