Irrfan Khan was Supposed to Play Sardar Udham Singh, Nobody Can Fill His Shoes

Irrfan Khan was Supposed to Play Sardar Udham Singh, Nobody Can Fill His Shoes

From biopics of freedom fighters and politicians or films on defence personnel and national causes, Bollywood has seen a surge in patriotic films over the last few years. Vicky Kaushal, who made his debut in 2015, has picked up many roles which have a patriotic fervour. His role as Major Vihan Shergill in Uri: The Surgical Strike earned him a lot of accolades. The actor will be seen playing the role of revolutionary leader Sardar Udham Singh in his upcoming film Sardar Udham which releases later this month. The actor is also doing the biopic of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

When spoke to Kaushal about his fear of being typecast, the actor said, “For me, either there are good films or bad films. They either get connected to the audience or they don’t. I don’t think that I have so many patriotic films or romantic films. It is not my process. When I hear a story and it connects to me, even if I have attempted that genre a hundred times before, I will still jump at it as it is a story that I have got connected to. When I am doing a film, I am thinking from the perspective of the audience. I don’t fear being typecast as I am also aware all the characters that I have done or I am doing are different.”

Read: Sardar Udham Trailer: Vicky Kaushal Has Deadly Intentions as He Avenges Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Sardar Udham traces the story of Udham Singh, the man who shot Michael O’Dwyer in London to avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Kaushal says that the idea was to get into the mind of the revolutionary, “It is not a biopic of a man. It is a biopic of his ideologies and of a freedom struggle. So it is a much bigger and deeper biopic. There are certain archival photographs which we have used as reference in terms of the looks and styling but beyond that, the film primarily was about what his state of mind was at that time.”

But playing the character was not easy. “Many freedom fighters get lost in our history books as they are mentioned in just one line or a paragraph or maximum a page. Sardar Uddham Singh was one of them. It is not a character that is widely documented in our history books. If you check the books you will find different stories, identities and sayings of one man. How do you then tap on to the core of that person? Very early on when I started discussing the film with Shoojitda, I understood that there was only one way to do this was to completely surrender to his vision and how we wanted to guide it,” informs Vicky.

The actor’s roots trace back to Hoshiarpur, Punjab which is close to Jalianwala Baugh. Kaushal says that hearing stories of the massacre from his elders helped him for the character. “I had heard stories of Sardar Uddham Singh from my grandparents and parents, it was almost a part of folklore. So there was always this connection to the core that I could relate to. I could also connect to his angst because the Jallianwala Baugh massacre to everyone across the globe had hit very brutally. A person who had taken an oath to avenge that bloodshed, not in India but to actually cross borders and go all the way into the heart of the British empire and do what he did, for me it’s a story of resilience, bravery, patience and of a very passionate person. Through this film, I wanted to explore that passion.”

Earlier, Irrfan Khan was to play the titular role but he opted out of the project due to his ill health. Kaushal says that he never took it as a pressure to replace the late actor, “Nobody can fill his shoes. For me, Irrfan Saab is one of the finest actors across the world. It has been an honour that I have been considered for the same film.”

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