Amar Singh Chamkila _ Full Movie _ Based on Real Life Story _ Diljit Dosanjh, Parineeti Chopra

  • 2 months ago
‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ review: An off-key biopic of the iconic Punjabi singer.
Amar Singh Chamkila - Full Movie | Diljit Dosanjh, Imtiaz Ali, A. R. Rahman, Irshad Kamil, Parineeti
Imtiaz Ali’s Amar Singh Chamkila attempts to bottle the essence of a legendary Punjabi singer who evades easy categorisation. Murdered in 1988 at the age of 27 when he was at the height of his powers, Chamkila is an exemplar of the supernova who lives and dies for art.

Biopics on Chamkila have been previously announced and abandoned; at least one of them, starring Diljit Dosanjh, was completed but stalled by a lawsuit. Chamkila’s unsolved assassination shaped key plot points in Rohit Jugraj’s web series Chamak (2023). The difficulty of drawing definitive conclusions about Chamkila’s multi-faceted legacy led to Kabir Singh Chowdhry’s fascinating experimental docu-fiction Mehsampur (2018).Ali’s version, which is out on Netflix and is also led by Dosanjh, reaches for low-hanging fruit: who – or what – killed Chamkila?

The screenplay, by Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali, unfolds like a police procedural. Chamkila (Dosanjh) is gunned down along with his singer-wife Amarjot (Parineeti Chopra) soon after they arrive in Mehsampur for a concert. A police officer who dismisses the icon as a vulgarian learns about Chamkila’s hardscrabble background, overnight success, and the unwelcome attention he attracted for his bawdy, taboo-busting songs.I discovered the man who was born Dhani Ram, one man says. I gave him his stage name, another asserts. Inspired by the goings-on around him, Chamkila wields his tumbi like a magic wand, bewitching local listeners as well as the Punjabi diaspora. Yet, his fame cannot shield from him from the ire of militants, religious leaders and the police.

Dosanjh, Chopra, and a few other singers perform Chamkila’s original songs in Punjabi, with the Hindi translations appearing on the screen. AR Rahman’s Punjabi pop-inflected Hindi soundtrack is woven into the musical-like saga. (Punjab is called Panjab throughout the movie.)The hot-blooded account of a cold case includes animation, split screens and footage of the real Chamkila and Amarjot. There is enough archival material included in the film to make the heart yearn for a straight-up documentary.

The music video-level aesthetic creates enough momentum to distract from how mundane the movie turns out to be. Chowdhry’s Mehsampur suggested that the aura around Chamkila was too thick to penetrate, especially by filmmakers who had not breathed the same air as him. Ali is untrammelled by such concerns. Having bagged the rights to Chamkila’s music catalogue, and having recruited big-name talent, Ali sets out to Bollywoodise the folk performer.The biopic is fixated on the explicit lyrics that put Chamkila on the top of charts and hit lists. Ali’s recent projects similarly focus on sexual matters, including the shows She, about a repressed police constable, and Dr Arora, about a sexologist.

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