Rocky and Ravi — Stories of People and Films


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

17 Feb 2020 – When a child is born in some rural or less urbanised part of India, the parents, grandparents or some Guru in whom the family has faith, give the baby a name that they feel is appropriate to their God, season or nakshatra—-the position of some planets. Names such as Usha, Alka, Radha   are common among Hindu female babies and Kishan, Shiv or Ravi among boys. Similarly other religious families give common names for their babies.

Government offices that are required to register the birth of babies and give an official record of registration are common among large cities; this facility is usually not available in smaller towns or rural areas.

This does create problems occasionally as what happened to a young man whom I met in my neighbourhood a few days back.

This young man was a driver of a car belonging to a neighbour of mine. I had seen him a few times but never spoken to him.  On that occasion I smiled and he smiled back. We started a conversation about the unusually cold weather prevailing in Delhi at that time. He agreed. After a few minutes, I asked him his name.

He replied with a grin ‘Rocky.   I could not believe that it was his real name since his appearance was rather unlike this name. So I asked him again and he replied a little loudly, ‘Rocky’!

I still felt a little flummoxed by this name so I asked him if it was his real name or he had picked it from a Hindi film he had seen. This time he appeared puzzled.

‘How did you know that? But I did not give myself this name— my grandmother did’, he continued.

Seeing my puzzlement he explained that when he was born, his parents gave him the name Ravi. But after five years, when he had to join school, his grandmother took him to a neighbouring school and when asked what his name was, she blurted out Rocky. Why Rocky? I could not understand.

‘Oh she must have seen the popular Hindi film Rocky.  She remembered the name of the actor rather than my name Ravi’, he explained. ‘And that is how my name continues to be the name of the actor,’ he added.

This has happened in other instances also. I know a woman who is named Nargis. Who gave her that name? Her mother, father or grandmother? No. She gave herself that name when she had to join school. Her name as a baby was Popat, which seemed inappropriate in the school she was to join. So she gave herself the name Nargis. Her parents did not object although the name is that of a Muslim woman, not that of a Hindu girl as Popat was.

The name was that of a very well known Hindi film actress who was very popular and starred in many films along with another popular actor and producer of Hindi films, Raj Kapoor.

Raj Kapoor produced, directed and acted in many films along with the heroine Nargis. One such film was Awaara (vagabond), which became a superhit not only in India but also in Pakistan, Iran and even distant Russia. The song also named Awaara was on the lips of many people of that generation.

Rocky or Nargis, we owe these names to our films. They are as popular as some American film actors and the Bombay film industry is now called Bollywood after the well known Hollywood industry. So films dispense not only entertainment but also harmony, joy and pleasure.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Feb 2020.

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