Having the same name as that of a 'Bollywood' icon! Ask me! Whenever I introduce myself as 'Sridevi' (notice that the 2 spellings - of my name & of the actress' name match too, otherwise there are variations of the name like Sreedevi, Shridevi), people have a very pleasant smile on their faces & most often people react, "Mr. India?" :) :) On the first day of my college in St. Xavier's Ahmedabad, someone asked me my name. I said, 'Sridevi'. He said, 'Aur main, Salman Khan..hahahaha". I didn't know what to say, "Mera naam sach mein Sridevi hai.", I said. He got shocked, "Hain...sach mein Sridevi hai? Yeh kaisa naam rakh liya...". Pratik - I would never forget this :)
In South India, this name is very common - in all 4 Southern states I guess but more common in Andhra Pradesh, next comes Tamil Nadu as per my knowledge. But my name did always raise eyebrows in that part of the country also along with a pleasant smile. The actress has a sister named 'Srilatha', coincidentally my sister's name is also 'Srilatha' (notice the 'tha' & not 'ta' :), a trademark of southern India - it won't be Prashant, it would be Prashanth, Srikant would be Srikanth etc.). But does anyone care about this 'Srilatha' coincidence? Now we ask, what's in a name? Yes, there is a lot in a name that has a lot of fame :) I vaguely remember asking my grandmother in my childhood about why they named me like this. She said at that time the actress was gaining all the fame & so when I was born, they named me after her, so that I would also make a name like that in my life. Apparently there is this God named Balaji, the one who has a golden temple to himself in Tirupati, one of his wives is also called Sridevi. Thankfully my family didn't name me after that God. Gods I tell you & especially this Tirupati one <sigh>...let me store this discussion for another blogpost of mine.
When I asked this question to my naani, internet was not there so I could not check the details. But now when I check on the internet, I actually notice that this was the period when the actress had already made her strong mark in South India & was rising to new heights in Bollywood too.
What surprises me is the immediate reaction "Mr. India?". The movie was not at all a woman-centric one, and Sridevi was not looking too good, neither had she acted too well. The extremely important & major attraction was the Mr. India himself. Then why Mr. India??? I actually like her in Chandni a lot, but no one's immediate mention on hearing my name is ever 'Chandni' :-) I personally like her very much in Chandni, she looked her best in this movie I feel & what amazing music & songs the movie had! 'Lagi aaj saawan ki fir woh jhadi hai...', 'Parbat se kaali ghata takraayi...' & more...wow!
It is good to have coincidences but these kinds of coincidences are very special, one big advantage is people will always remember you. Thanks to the 'Sridevi' & all who make 'names' & thanks to my family who named me after this actress. If I rise to similar heights in some other field of course & not Bollywood, I can already anticipate the media headlines :)
But sometimes it might actually get scary for the relatives like in the movie 'Gandhi My Father', Harilal, the son of the Bapu is being asked his father's name by the hospital staff when he is literally in a dying state. He says the name 'Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi', & the hospital staff says, "he is the father of the entire nation, tell the actual name" - Harilal actually dies in the hospital without anyone knowing about him. How sad can something like that be!!!
Like the author in this article mentions, thankfully, no one has said anything like this to my family or relatives, "Okay, stop joking & tell me the actual name"!