Imtiaz Ali’s upcoming film, titled Chamkila, is set to remind audiences of a young singer who met a tragic fate at the age of 27, similar to Sidhu Moose Wala. This Netflix original will portray the untold story of Amar Singh Chamkila aka Punjab’s original rockstar. Chamkila, who emerged from a background of poverty, gained immense fame in the 1980s before being assassinated just moments before his performance in Mehsampur, Punjab.
Starring Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra in lead roles, the recently unveiled teaser provides a glimpse into the film’s essence. It begins with an eager crowd gathered before a stage, while a narrator introduces the enigmatic performer. Revered as ‘Jawan dilon ki muskaan, aur buzurgo ki shaan’ (smile of young hearts and the pride of elders), Chamkila is seen being hailed as the “greatest singer of his time.”
Dosanjh, sporting a distinctive look without his turban, gracefully steps onto the stage, clutching an ektara (a traditional musical instrument), and warmly acknowledges the audience, who cheer in response. In a unique twist, both Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra have lent their voices to the film, with the musical genius A.R. Rahman created the enchanting melodies that accompany the narrative.
Prior to Imtiaz Ali’s Chamkila, Dosanjh took on a significant role in another cinematic venture called Jodi. This movie centres around the poignant love story of Amar Singh and Amarjot Kaur, drawing inspiration from their real-life bond. Jodi hit the screens earlier this month and garnered a positive reception from viewers, showcasing the enduring appeal of their romance.
In a separate creative endeavour, filmmaker Kabir Singh Chowdhry crafted a mockumentary titled Mehsampur back in 2018, exploring the life and legacy of Chamkila. This unconventional film offers an artistic interpretation of the singer’s narrative, shedding light on various aspects of his journey and artistic impact.
It is noteworthy that these distinct projects offer unique perspectives on Chamkila’s gripping tale, underscoring people’s undying fascination surrounding his contributions to Punjabi music and culture.
So what was the real-life Chamkila’s story?
Amar Singh Chamkila was a highly influential Punjabi singer and songwriter known for his contributions to the Punjabi music industry. Amar Singh Chamkila, along with his wife and collaborator Amarjot, rose to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Chamkila was born on July 21, 1960, in the village of Dugri near Ludhiana, Punjab. He aspired to be an electrician, before joining a Ludhiana cloth mill. The young man began his music career by singing at local functions and swiftly moved from one band to another, seeking fair compensation and recognition for his talent. Eventually, he took a significant step and established his own band, aptly named Chamkila. To further enrich his performances, Chamkila invited singer and future-wife Amarjot to join him, creating a powerful duo that captivated audiences with their harmonious duets.
The duo gained popularity for their powerful and energetic performances as well as Chamkila’s tongue-in-cheek, double-meaning lyrics. His songs often depicted the social issues and realities of rural Punjab such as drug abuse, dowry, infidelity and sexual affairs, which resonated with a wide audience.
Chamkila’s music was known for its catchy beats, humorous lyrics, and his distinct singing style. Dubbed the ‘Elvis of Punjab,’ some of his popular songs include ‘Pehle Lalkare Naal,’ ‘Tera Yaar Sharabi,’ and ‘Takue Te Takua.’
Tragically, the star’s life was cut short when he, along with his wife Amarjot, was assassinated on March 8, 1988, in Punjab by a gang of motorcyclists. Two other members of their band were also killed in this assassination. However, the case was never solved and no arrest was made. The circumstances surrounding their deaths remain controversial and have left a lasting impact on the Punjabi music industry. However, Chamkila’s music continues to be celebrated and appreciated by fans of Punjabi music around the world