Top 10 Child Actresses Who Changed Their Names After Turning Leads

Top 10 Child Actresses Who Changed Their Names After Turning Leads View All Articles

Posted On: 06 Dec 2021 | Last Updated: 06 Dec 2021


Have you ever wondered why all the actors have such unique and catchy names? Well, little do you know but most of the actors aren’t born with these catchy monikers, however, they change them eventually to stand out. There have been several actors who started their career in Bollywood as child artists and went on to become successful leads. As a child, they didn’t realise the algorithms of the film industry, however, growing up they realised the importance of having a unique name. Thus, these Bollywood child artists changed their names after turning leads. After researching, we were able to find these top 10 female child artists, who were referred to by their real names as child artists, but changed their names after becoming leading ladies of Bollywood. Here’s the list of top 10 popular Bollywood child actresses who changed their names after turning lead actresses.


1. Neetu Singh / Neetu Kapoor (Baby Sonia)

A prominent leading actress of the 1960s and 1970s, Neetu Singh was born as Harneet Kaur Chawla. Due to her father’s death at an early age, Neetu Singh had to start earning for her family at an early age. Shortly after her father’s death, she started her acting career at the age of 8 with the 1966 romantic drama Suraj. She appeared in a couple of movies as a child artist and was credited as Baby Sonia in all the movies featuring her as a child artist. Some of the prominent movies of her as a child artist include Do Kaliyaan (1968), Waris (1969), Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1970), and Pavitra Paapi (1970). As an adult, she appeared as a lead actress in several super hit movies like Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Dharam Veer (1977), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Kaala Patthar (1979), etc. Soon after her marriage to actor Rishi Kapoor, she took a break from acting and made a comeback with Love Aajkal in 2009 and the 2010 family comedy-drama Do Dooni Chaar, alongside Rishi Kapoor.

Neetu Singh

2. Lalita Pawar (Baby Amba)

The profuse Indian actress Lalita Pawar was born Amba Laxman Rao Sagun. She started acting at the age of nine and made her screen debut in Bollywood with the 1928 silent film Raja Harishchandra (1928). She appeared in several silent films as a child artist, in which she was credited as Baby Amba. She stayed active in Indian cinema and later, also appeared as a lead actress in several films until the early 1940s. Initially, she was credited by her first name Amba until her marriage to producer Ganpat Rao Pawar, as she changed her name to Lalita Pawar after marriage. In 1942, after an accident on the sets of the film Jung-e-Azadi, she was left with a defective left eye. Thus, she had to abandon lead roles and switch to character roles, which helped her to rise to fame. She mainly gained popularity for her roles as a wicked or strict mother-in-law. Some of her important movies include Dahej (1950), Mr & Mrs 55 (1955), Sampoorna Ramayana (1961), Junglee (1961), Professor (1962), Ankhen (1968), Sau Din Saas Ke (1980), etc.

Lalita Pawar

3. Rekha (Baby Bhanurekha)

The most influential actress of her times, Rekha was born as Bhanurekha Ganesan to the South Indian actors Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli. Being the daughter of talented actors, Rekha was born talented and showed excellent acting skills from the start. She appeared as a child artist in two Telugu films namely Inti Guttu (1958) and Rangula Ratnam (1966). As a child artist, she was credited as Baby Bhanurekha. Later, in 1969, she made her screen debut as a lead actress in Kannada film Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999. The following year, she made her Bollywood debut with Mohan Sehgal’s Sawan Bhadon, alongside Navin Nischol. As a lead actress, she used her changed name Rekha. She is best known for her roles in movies like Ghar (1978), Khubsoorat (1980), Umrao Jaan (1981), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988), Lajja (2001), and many more,

Rekha

4. Shyama (Baby Khurshid)

Born in the Muslim family as Khurshid Akhtar, Shyama was an Indian actress who was active in Indian cinema from 1945 to 1989. She started her acting career at the age of ten years and appeared as a child artist in movies like Zeenat (1945) and Meerabai (1947). In her early career she was credited by her real name Baby Khurshid/Khurshid Akhtar. Later, filmmaker Vijay Bhatt gave her the stage name Shyama, and she soon became famous with her stage name. She was a major star of the 1950s and 1960s, and her best work includes Tarana (1951), Aar Paar (1954), Sharada (1957), Do Bahen (1959), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Ghar Basake Dekho (1963), and many more.

Shyama

5. Nargis (Baby Rani)

Regarded as one of the greatest actresses in the history of Indian cinema, Nargis was born Fatima Rashid to one of the early pioneers of Indian cinema, musician Jaddanbai. It was her mother, Jaddanbai, who introduced her to Indian cinema, and at the age of 5, she made her screen debut with a small role in Talash-e-Haq (1935). She appeared in a few films as a child artist and was regarded as Baby Rani. As an adult, she made her debut in Bollywood with Mehboob Khan’s 1943 comedy film Taqdeer. After appearing as a lead actress in the films, she changed her name and was credited as Nargis in all her movies. She is best known for her works in movies like Barsaat (1949), Babul (1950), Awara (1951) Shree 420 (1955), Mother India (1957) and many more. After her marriage with actor Sunil Dutt, she slowly started to disappear from the silver screen to settle down with her family. She made her last appearance in the 1967 film Raat Aur Din.

Nargis (Baby Rani)

6. Madhubala (Baby Mumtaz)

The silver screen goddess, Madhubala was noted for her beauty, acting style, and mesmerizing screen persona. Born as Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi, Madhubala loved to imitate her favourite film characters and dance to entertain herself in her childhood years. She started to act at the young age of 9 and made her screen debut with the 1942 film Basant. As a child artist, she appeared in several films and was credited as Baby Mumtaz. As an adult, she started her career in Bollywood with Kidar Sharma’s 1947 film Neel Kamal, co-starring Raj Kapoor and Begum Para. Impressed by her work in the movie, actress Devika Rani suggested that she take ‘Madhubala’ as her stage name. She went on to appear in several notable films in the career span of 22 years. Some of her notable works include Mahal (1949), Dulari (1949), Amar (1954), Mr. & Mrs. ’55 (1955), Raj Hath (1956), Kala Pani (1958), Howrah Bridge (1958), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), etc. Due to her terminal illness, the actress faced a setback in her career in the 1960s as she had to refuse many big films. By early 1969, her health suffered a serious decline and she died of a heart attack on 23 February 1969.

Madhubala

7. Bindu (Baby Rita Roy)

Bindu Nanubhai Desai, popularly known as Bindu, is the daughter of film producer Nanubhai Desai. Her father died when she was just 13, and being the eldest sibling, the responsibility to earn a living for the family fell on her shoulders. She took acting as her career, and appeared in several important roles in movies. She made her screen debut in Bollywood with the 1959 film Santan, and was credited as Rita Roy in her first film. Later, she started using her real name Bindu. She is best known for her works in movies like Ittefaq (1969), Kati Patang (1970), Imtihan (1974), Arjun Pandit (1976), Tyaag (1977), Alag Alag (1985), Kishen Kanhaiya (1990), Main Hoon Na (2004) and many more.

Bindu

8. Manorama (Baby Iris)

Manorama was a popular Indian actress, who mainly appeared in character roles. She is best known for playing a comical wicked aunt in Ramesh Sippy’s comedy-drama Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), starring Hema Malini, Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar. She started her acting career as a child artist in 1936 in Lahore, under the name Baby Iris. As an adult, Manorama started her career in Bollywood with the 1941 blockbuster Khazanchi. She was born as Erin Issac Daniels, but was credited by her stage name ‘Manorama’ in all her movies after 1941. Other important movies of her career include Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Dus Lakh (1966), Do Kaliyaan (1968), Ek Phool Do Maali (1969), Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971), etc. Her last appearance was in the 2005 social drama Water, directed by Deepa Mehta.

Manorama

9. Nazima (Baby Chand)

Born as Mehr-un-Nisa, Nazima was an Indian actress who appeared in important supporting roles in the 1960s and 1970s. She was related to actresses Sharifa Bai (of the 1930s) and Husn Bano (of the 1940s) and being from a cinematic family, she soon started acting herself. She made her screen debut as a child artist in the 1954 film Biraj Bahu and was credited as Baby Chand. She then appeared in movies like Devdas (1955), Dayar-e-Habib (1956) and Ab Dilli Door Nahin (1957). As an adult, she made her debut in Bollywood with the 1958 film Princess Saaba, and was known by her stage name Nazima. She is known for her roles in movies like Biraj Bahu (1958), April Fool (1964), Arzoo (1965), Wohi Ladki (1967), etc.

Nazima

10. Sona / Sona Mastan Mirza (Baby Shobha)

The famous actress of the 1970s and 1980s, Sona was born Shahjehan Begum. She started her acting career in Bollywood as a child artist with the 1957 film Bada Bhai. She was credited as Baby Shobha in all the movies featuring her as a child artist. She appeared as a child artist in several movies like Ghar Ghar Ki Baat (1959), Maa Baap (1960), Usne Kaha Tha (1960), Pyaar Ki Jeet (1962), Aarti (1962), Awara Badal (1964), Bikhare Moti (1971), etc. Later, when she appeared in Bollywood movies as an adult, she was credited as Sona. She has acted in movies like Badnam Farishte (1971), Naag Champa (1976), Do Sholay (1977), Aadamkhor (1986), etc. After her marriage to gangster and smuggler, Haji Mastan Mirza in 1984, she was referred to as Sona Mastan Mirza.

Sona