Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar says his upcoming biopic on Sardar Udham Singh is his interpretation of a revolutionary. Titled "Sardar Udham", the film starring Vicky Kaushal in the lead, has been Sircar's passion project since past 20 years when he first visited the Jallianwala Bagh massacre site. The director, however, said making a film on Udham Singh was a challenge as there was not much information about his life beyond Michael O'Dwyer's assassination in 1940.
"In history, there was not much about Udham Singh. He was a visionary, a revolutionary with purpose, he had a larger purpose. Beyond Punjab many people don't know about him. It's my perspective of how I see a revolutionary. There are many ways to see a revolutionary, it's my vision," Sircar said here at the India Today Conclave 2021.
Sardar Udham Singh assassinated Michael O'Dwyer, Punjab's Lieutenant Governor in 1940 to avenge the 1919 massacre, led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, that killed over a 1,000 people. O'Dwyer had condoned Dyer's actions.
Sircar, known for his films like "Vicky Donor","Madras Cafe", "Piku" and "October", said rather than exploring the events of Udham Singh's life they have tried to capture the state of his mind. "We didn't dwell upon his events and actions, but tried to go into Sardar Udham's mind. What he must be thinking or must have experienced on the night of Jallianwala Bagh massacre that changed him."
Kaushal, who also accompanied the filmmaker for the session, said he loved the fact that Sircar was not presenting Udham Singh as a superhero.
"The way he wanted to show Sardar Udham was not as a superhero. He saw him as a child, a common man, one of us, who got affected by the events of that one night. For me, it became the quest to find out that thing inside him that he couldn't change. That pain he couldn't let go off for 21 years," he said.
The actor said while he has grown up listening to the stories of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh, when he came on board for the film, he realised there was so much more to them than just a few incidents mentioned in history books.
"I belong to a Punjabi family, my native place is two hours drive from Jallianwala Bagh. I have heard stories about Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sardar Udham Singh growing up. But when I came on board I realised I know so less about them.
"My quest to discover Sardhar Udham still continues and I hope our effort to create that person, that era resonates with the audience." Written by Ritesh Shah and Shubhendu Bhattacharya, "Sardar Udham" will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on October 16.