What's in a Name?: Quandary for Actor-Turned-Politicians

What's in a Name?: Quandary for Actor-Turned-Politicians

"What's in a name?" Shakespeare wondered, but two Bengali filmstars contesting the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal have found to their dismay that voters are confused between their real names and screen names.

Legendary screen goddess Suchitra Sen's daughter Moon Moon Sen's real name is Srimati Dev Varma while reigning Bengali film superstar Dev's real name is Dipak Adhikari. The legal names of both will appear on the EVM machines along with their party's symbol.

Both are contesting on Trinamool Congress tickets.

Local party leaders say they fear that since the EVMs will only have the candidates' real names along with the party symbol, some voters may get confused while casting votes.

"In films, TV serials and 'jatras' (folk theatres), I am better known as Moon Moon Sen. But my mother had named me Srimati and Moon Moon both. My voter card bears the name Srimati Dev Varma," the 60-year-old actress told voters in Bankura from where she is contesting.

Even her daughters Raima and Riya, both actresses, have emphasised on her mother's real name as they joined her in campaigning.

When asked by PTI, Sen admits that it is an issue but says that right from the beginning of her campaign, party workers have been informing voters of her real name.

"Not only people, but we are also surprised to know that her real name is not Moon Moon Sen. We are taking care of this in our campaign as it takes time for people to get acquainted with a new name. I cannot suddenly tell people that Moon Moon Sen is not Moon Moon Sen," a local Trinamool leader said.

Sen is contesting against nine-time sitting CPI(M) MP Basudeb Acharia.

Actor Dev, who has given a number of Bengali hit films like 'Paglu', 'Challenge' and 'Chander Pahar' in the last few years, is also facing the same problem as he contests from his hometown seat of Ghatal in West Midnapore district.

He admits that even some of his die-hard fans don't know that his real name happens to be Dipak Adhikari.

In Ghatal constituency, largely a rural belt, his popularity is immense but party workers are having a tough time telling everyone that Dipak Adhikari is the candidate and not Dev.

The 32-year-old star is, however, upbeat: "You see my fans remember the name of the characters I played in my films, so it will not be tough for them to remember me as Dipak Adhikari."

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