Where is Pellore?

You have heard of Vellore and Nellore. If you are familiar with Andhra Pradesh, you may know that Eluru was known as Ellore in British times. This name appears in railway timetables up to the 1940s.

And there is a fictitious place called Pellore – that too in the North West Frontier Province.

Not in South India as you may expect. Don’t try to find it on the map. It appears in the 1935 Laurel & Hardy film “Bonnie Scotland”, where the pair enlist in a Scottish regiment and create havoc at Pellore and the surroundings.

This was an MGM production. But even the large Hollywood producers would not shoot in such locations at that time. They would have had an “India consultant” who must have suggested the name.

The most famous fictitious place in India (in English literature) would be Bhowani Junction. The book was also made into a Hollywood film in the 1950s. However, there are enough clues in the book (not the film) which indicates that the author was familiar with Central and Northern India, and may have had Jhansi in mind. A more simplistic approach is to think it was Bhusaval because it sounds similar. It is not clear if anyone asked John Masters which place he had in mind. More on this topic later.