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Quite curiously, Anil Kapoor’s laadli beti Sonam Kapoor, yaane ki Sonam K Ahuja is convinced that whenever she falls on the sets, that film becomes a super hit – Jyothi Venkatesh

Mithun Chakraborty does not at all attend the mahurat ceremony of his film. He avoids the first day of his films’ shoot, with the logic that whenever he has been present at the mahurat, the outcome has been a major flop.

On the studio sets, Govinda is known to quake and simmer if a visitor is dressed in red. His meals are brought in tiffins, cooked by the family maharaj. According to an apocryphal story, the actor transports his own cattle on trucks for milk during outdoor shoots. Plus, he won’t budge an inch without consulting his guru.

Ajay Devgn seeks the blessings of a guru, whether he is starting a new project or buying a car. Gulzar, to maintain a sense of tranquility at home, has a sizeable collection of Buddha sculptures.

Numerology rules currently. In keeping with the belief in lucky numbers, Ranbir Kapoor has a penchant for the numeral 8, apparent from the licence plates of his cars. Why 8? It is conjectured that it’s because his mother’s birth date is July 8, 1958.

Shah Rukh Khan has a yen for the digit 555, not only for his own fleet of cars but for the ones which he gifts as well. SRK’s cell phone number has the digit 555 too, which couldn’t be a coincidence.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and AR Rahman place their faith in 786, the total value of the letters Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim.

The music composer’s cell phone has 786, while Ms Bachchan, before the demonetisation diktat, was reportedly known to collect currency notes carrying the sequence of numbers.

Akshay Kumar is a stickler for 9, sparking the buzz that the actor charges a fee per film which adds up to the number. A trade pundit went to the extent of claiming that his current fee per film is Rs 72 crores, which tote to 9! Could it be?

What if his film doesn’t enter the Rs 100 crore club? “That’s why,” the pundit beams. “He co-produces most of his films, doesn’t he?” Neither will the Prithviraj actor write a word on a blank sheet of paper without topping it with an Om sign.

Up or downswing, birth-names are prone to tinkering. Sunjay Dutt was told that the ‘u’ in his first name wasn’t working, when his films were flopping one after the other at the very onset of his career. Hence, it has been Sanjay thereafter.

The late actor Irfan Khan dropped ‘Khan’ to add an extra ‘r’, and became Irrfan. Ajay Devgan dropped the vowel ‘a’ in his last name to become Ajay Devgn.

On the heels of the sudden whopper hit status of Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Kartik Aryan added an extra ‘a’ to become Kartik Aaryan (it’s another story that his birth name is Kartik Tiwari).

Before him Rajkumar Yadav, who kicked off with supporting parts, switched to Rajkummar Rao. And what do you know? His career’s big hits Shahid and Newton happened. A single or double ‘mm’ for Rajkummar depends on whoever designs the credit titles.

Ayushman Khurana, pretty straight and simple, went consonant happy with Ayushmann Khurrana. Jimmy Shergill, kin to the legendary artist Amrita Shergil, for a touch of difference added an ‘i’ to become Sheirgill. By the way, before quaffing a drink, he sprinkles some drops around him, quite mysteriously.

Among the heroines, Rani Mukerji dropped an ‘h’ from her famous surname Mukherjee. Of the two Kapoor sisters, Karishma dropped the ‘h’ forever. Kareena changed to Kareina but reverted to the original on being reprimanded by her father Randhir Kapoor.

On a somewhat different note, the flamboyant producer-director-and-Hitchcockian-style-cameo-actor Subhash Ghai, after successfully rebooting the career of Madhuri Dixit, developed a penchant for heroines whose names began with the letter ‘M’ – from Manisha Koirala and Mahima Choudhury to his last discovery Mishti (in Kaanchi: The Unbreakable), who as it happened, couldn’t make the grade at all.

Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar have moved on from their fixation for the letter K in their film titles. But Rakesh Roshan hasn’t, if the fourth edition of his Krrish franchise is anything to go by. Coincidence or not, son Hritik Roshan’s project, produced by Roshan senior but directed by Sanjay Gupta, was also titled Kaabil.

Call them superstitions, quirks or monomania, that’s one mega-anxiety shared by the denizens of Bollywood – right from auspicious dates, numerology and propitious publicity hoarding sites to favorable license number plates for swishy cars and vanity vans.

From the Bachchans, Lata Mangeshkar and Ekta Kapoor to the newbies, a majority resorts to lucky mascots, gems, colours, charms and regular visits to shrines. Most film families consult godmen on subjects ranging from whether or not they should sign a certain film and even on which day (and at what time) to catch an air flight.

Still, no one believes in destiny and luck by chance more intensely than the B-townies do. Defy kismat and even a superstar’s career could go kaput.

Amitabh Bachchan has stated on record that he doesn’t watch ‘live’ telecasts of cricket matches. There was a time when he did and India would lose the match.

Instead, he watches repeat telecasts. Incidentally, Bachchan like Ringo Starr of The Beatles, wears a variety of rings on his fingers to keep diabolical elements at bay.

And that includes carping critics. An emerald ring is contended to have upped his market longevity ever since 2000.

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