Sabu Dastagir was a film actor of Indian origin?although he later took American citizenship. He was normally credited only by his first name, Sabu, and is primarily known for his work in film during the 1940s.
Born in 1924 in Karapur, Mysore, Kingdom of Mysore, then a Princely State of British India, Sabu was the son of an Indian mahout. While most reference books have his full name as “Sabu Dastagir”, research by journalist Philip Leibfried suggests that was his brother’s name, and that Sabu was in fact Selar Shaik Sabu or Sabu Francis. His brother managed his career.
Sabu was discovered by documentary film-maker Robert Flaherty who cast him in the role of an elephant driver in the 1937 British film Elephant Boy, based on Toomai of the Elephants, a story by Rudyard Kipling. Sabu is perhaps best known for his role as Abu in the 1940 British film The Thief of Bagdad. In 1942 he once again played a role based on a Kipling story, namely Mowgli in Jungle Book directed by Zoltán Korda.
After becoming an American citizen in 1944, Sabu joined the U.S Army Air Force as a tail gunner. He flew several dozen missions over the Pacific and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor and bravery.