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NEW DELHI: The great Indian martyr Udham Singh (centre in the above picture), who took revenge for the 1919 Jallianwalla Bagh massacre by killing Michael O’Dwyer in London in 1940 and was hanged on July 31 the same year, had acted in two Hollywood films.
Before Udham Singh – who had changed his name to Ram Mohammed Singh Azad – killed Michael O’Dwyer by firing six shots at Caxton Hall in Westminster in London on March 13 in 1940, he worked in two English movies — Elephant Boy (1937) and The Four Feathers (1939).
As the Lt-Governor of Punjab in British India, Michael O’Dwyer had ordered General Reginald Dyer to open fire on the gathering at Jallianwalla Bagh in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, killing between 370 and 1,000 people. Udham Singh went to England to avenge the massacre.
Both the films were produced by the famous Hollywood director Alexander Korda and his younger brother Zolton Korda.
This unknown fact about Udham Singh, who was hanged in London in July 1940, is contained in British writer Roger Perkins’s book titled The Amritsar Legacy. The book came out in 1989.
Udham Singh acted as an `extra’ in both the films to raise money for the activities of the London branch of the Ghadar Party which was fighting for India’s independence.
The film Elephant Boy was based on the story of ‘Toomai of the Elephants’ in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. It was shot at London Films Studios and in Mysore.
The film was released in 14 countries, including England, on April 9, 1937, but never in India. It won the Best Director Award at the Venice Film Festival.
The remains of Udham Singh were repatriated to India in 1974, and cremated at his native Sunam in Punjab.