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KABIR, NAAM TO SUNA HOGA

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It began with Vijay, then we had Prem, then there were Rahul and Raj, and now, in this ever-changing age of social media, we have Kabir making its place as one of the most popular onscreen hero names.

For most of us Bollywood buffs, it’s these names that make or break the character. And nowadays Kabir seems like the perfect choice for the uber cool, suave dude who has no hangups.

The trend started with Jism, where John Abraham’s character, Kabir Lal, is an alcoholic lawyer having an extramarital affair with Bipasha Basu’s character. He was seen as the quintessential rebel, breaking stereotypes and pursuing his passion—a feeling that resonated well with a young-adult audience. The name’s impact was such that in the sequel that came out nine years later, Randeep Hooda was also given the name Kabir.

Post that Zoya Akhtar became the undoubted poster woman for this trend with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in 2011 and then Dil Dhadakne Do in 2015, each of which had a metrosexual, educated, successful but slightly unhappy guy as Kabir. Again characters that the audience could easily relate to.

Ranveer Singh plays Kabir Mehra in Dil Dhadakne Do

Then came Ranbir Kapoor, the prototype of the Tinder generation, in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewaani as Kabir Thapar—a perennial traveller-photographer who doesn’t want to settle down. In fact, nothing else popularised the name like Amitabh Bhattacharya’s Re Kabira for Ranbir’s character in the film.

Of course, the reference for all is 15th century mystical poet, Kabir, whose name became synonymous with freedom. Just like him, the Kabirs of cinema are not bound by the conventional ideas of what a male should be; they follow a bohemian lifestyle (Ranbir Kapoor in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani), or are stay-at-home husbands (Arjun Kapoor in Ki & Ka) or even directors (Arjun Rampal in Roy). They want to learn how to fly and overcome their inner fears by scuba diving. The only exception in this case has been Shahrukh’s lower middle class Kabir Khan, who is seen driving a scooter in Chak de India.

What do you think of Bollywood’s name game? Let us know in the comments below.

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