Bollywood star says he would like those of Indian heritage to reconnect with this figure from the past…
WHAT do you know about Udham Singh?
You’re more likely to have heard the name Vicky Kaushal…
The star actor essays the main role in the new film, ‘Sardar Udham’ about the Indian revolutionary and freedom fighter, Udham Singh.
Directed by Shoojit Sarcar, the film is a biopic of the freedom fighter.
Kaushal talks about how much he cherished the role, playing a character who is a venerated figure in his native Punjab. Kaushal is also of Punjabi heritage, though he grew up in Mumbai, and has visited Jallianwala Bagh (see below also) many times and has been deeply affected by it. The massacre causes Singh to take direct action many years later.
Kaushal says it important for generations to remember the mistakes of the past and learn from them and says that while Singh is well-known among Punjabis and in Punjab itself, knowledge, about the revolutionary and freedom fighter outside, is not so widespread.
ACV and Kaushal also discuss the lack of Britain’s imperial history being taught in schools in the UK.
The film production was complete last year and its release was delayed by the pandemic but was secured by Amazon Video and dropped last week (October 15).
Udham Singh was hanged in 1940 in England after being found guilty of shooting dead Michael O’Dwyer in London the year earlier – and in revenge for Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.
This was when British troops fired on crowds gathered at the gardens close to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Some had gone there to protest at British rule and the arrest of prominent anti-colonial activists, while others were there simply celebrating Vaisakhi. Many hundreds died – shot dead by British Imperial troops.
Many felt it was a decisive turning point for India’s bid to wrestle free from British rule.
The film is biopic of a man regarded as a national hero – he was born to a farming family in Punjab, but lost both his parents very early on and was taken into an orphanage and witnessed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre himself as a young man.
He became politically active and involved in Independence movements and spent time in prison for his anti-colonial activities.
Despite being monitored by British Colonial intelligence, Singh managed to make his way to Britain and worked as an engineer and there is a picture of him helping prepare the langar (free food) at the Shepherd’s Bush (west London) Gurdwara, one of the oldest in the UK.
He plotted to shoot Michael O’Dwyer, the Governor of British Punjab, 1913-19 and did so obtaining a gun in a pub.
At his trial, he denounced British rule in India and called the Establishment, “dirty dogs” who had no conscience and did not care for his own fate at the hands of those he felt only contempt.
You can watch ‘Sardar Udham’ on Amazon Prime.
Presenter/Editing: Natalie Barrass (http://www.twitter.com/natbollywood)