The amazon prime biopic, Sardar Udham, tells the story of an Indian revolutionary and his quest for revenge against the people responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that took place in 1919.
The story begins with Udham Singh (Vicky Kaushal) being released from prison after spending time in there for previous acts. He heads out to a lodge and meets up with a contact who informs of the next steps to be taken in his journey.
He also informs him that he’s being followed by the authorities and must be careful how he goes about his business. He alters his appearance by shaving completely and then slips away in the dead of the night, escaping the watchful eyes of the police.
While he heads up to Lahore and then Afghanistan to procure a new passport and a weapon, news of his escape has reached Scotland yard in London and a notice is put out for his capture all over the city back in India. Meanwhile, Udham manages to arrive in England by trekking through the U.S.S.R and eventually getting on a ship to the United Kingdom.
In London, he meets with some high profile Indian contacts who give him the lay of the land and advise him to keep his head down and avoid any suspicion. He spends 6 years planning and plotting before finally making a decision. In 1940, he visits a talk held in Caxton hall where the former Lt. Governor of Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer (Shaun Scott), is speaking and shoots him down before being apprehended by the police.
Once he has been arrested, he gets beaten and questioned incessantly about his true motives and whether he had any accomplices in this crime. Detective inspector John Swain is the man in charge of the investigation and he sets forth in questioning Udham to find out more about his plans.
Along with paper records they find in their archives, it is revealed that Udham moved around quite a bit while in London. He took on all sorts of jobs, and even changed his place of residence frequently. A Russian woman who provided him with lodging mentioned that he was also in contact with a British woman.
That woman turned out to be Eileen Palmer (Kirsty Averton), a member of the communist party in Britain. He reaches out to her for some kind of support or leads to help him in his efforts to build an Indian resistance in a foreign land. When she is questioned, Eileen claims that she did not know anything about his extremist plots or plan to assassinate the Lt. governor.
She had referred him to members of the Irish resistance army through whom he managed to secure a deal for weapons and safe passage back to India. However, the IRA safe houses are raided before his plans come to fruition and he flees to Russia.
Under police custody, he is constantly beaten and tortured to extract more information but he always remains firm and does not reveal anything. Swain asks him about his relationship with Bhagat Singh (Amol Parashar) and Udham recalls the time he spent with him and they sowed the seeds of their revolution before Bhagat Singh was eventually captured and hanged.
He gets a lot of coverage in the press which causes some unease among the British aristocracy as his every act can be construed as political disobedience, which may start a movement. The British government decide to censure the press in order to control the narrative of the case.
When the trial approaches, Udham is visited by his defense lawyer, who urges that he cooperate so that they may present a solid case in front of the judge. He begins to tell the lawyer about he arrived at the decision to murder Michael O’Dwyer. Meanwhile, the prosecution elicited coerced confessions from some of Udham’s associates to add on to the previously stated charges against him.
Udham directly had contact with O’Dwyer when he was still a pen salesman. He managed to build a rapport with him that helped him later on. He approached him later in need of a new job, to which O’Dwyer obliges. He becomes a member of his staff, carrying out household chores and driving him around.
One night, when O’Dwyer was quite drunk, he rambles on about what happened in Amritsar in 1919. He claims that the shooting was justified and the mob that gathered there deserved everything that happened to them. This really incensed Udham and he decided to leave because he could no longer work for such an evil man.
At the trial, a fair case is barely heard with Udham ranting about ideology and attacking the British Imperial Raj while the prosecution requests speedy judgement because Udham had already confessed to the crime of murder. He is eventually sentenced to be hanged by the judge.
At his jail cell, Udham receives one final visit from detective Swain who has a genuine heart to heart with him. He asks him what was the trigger that turned him into a killer, since he hadn’t killed anyone before that. What is the answer he’ll receive? What is the straw that broke the camels back and led Udham to commit such a serious act of violence?
Here is the ending the Sardar Udham explained in detail:
The river of blood
It was 1919 in Amritsar, the Sikhs in Punjab were protesting the Rowlatt act and letting everyone know of their displeasure. They were dispersed with force by the British army but that did not deter them. They decided to hold a peaceful protest at the Jallianwala Bagh as an act of civil disobedience.
This news reached O’Dwyer, who was the governor at the time. He ordered the illegal detainments of key individuals to subdue the movement and called for General Reginald Dyer (Andrew Havill) to deal with the protestors. Dyer headed to the Bagh with a battalion and then blocked the only exit of the open compound.
He gave the command to his soldiers to open fire, killing hundreds and wounding thousands of civilians in the process, many of whom were women and children.
Udham states that he reached the bagh very late, long after the bloodshed had taken place. He had decided to sleep in that day and was rudely awoken by a friend stumbling in, riddled with bullets and in excruciating pain.
He immediately rushed out to the scene is devastated to see many bodies piled up over there. He went around looking for survivors, trying to catch the sound of groans or cries for help. With the help of a cart, he began transporting wounded people to the closest medical camp where doctors are tending to the patients.
He made several trips, growing more tired as the night progressed but soldiering on with determination and grit. Come morning, Dyer convinces himself that he performed his duties and made the right decision, and then passed on the order to lift the curfew after a few hours to let the public bury or burn their dead.
The final words of a martyr
Udham ends his story with some words of wisdom shared by one of his teachers. The teacher had told him that youth is a basic right of every human, and it’s their responsibility to make sure that youth was worth it in the end. He contemplates whether he did enough to count his youth as useful.
Detective Swain asks him whether he can do something as a favour and Udham tells him to share with the people that he was a revolutionary. He then takes the long walk to the gallows, ready to face his fate and take his last breath.
A final clip shows a reenactment of the Hunter commission where Dyer and O’Dwyer stick their baseless and misguided notions that they were not wrong when they ordered the murder of several unarmed Indians when a more peaceful solution was capable. A disclaimer also appears reminding the audience that India has still not received an apology from the British over the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
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