Earlier this week, filmmaker Imtiaz Ali and Netflix shared the first look teaser of their forthcoming film, Amar Singh Chamkila, based on the life of the iconic music star of Punjab from the 1980s.
Directed by Ali, the film stars Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra in the lead roles. It presents the true story of Punjab’s original rockstar of the masses, Amar Singh Chamkila (essayed by Dosanjh) who emerged from the shadows of poverty and rose to popularity in the 1980s due to the sheer power of his music. He angered many on the way, which finally led to his assassination at a young age of 27, as the official plotline mentions. Chamkila was the highest record-selling artist of his time. He is still regarded as one of the best live stage performers that Punjab has ever produced.
For Ali, the process of making Amar Singh Chamkila has been quite a unique journey. "I could not have asked for better actors than the immensely talented Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra, especially since it involves some live singing. The film follows the crazed popularity of Chamkila’s daring songs that society could neither ignore nor swallow,” elaborates Ali in a statement. With Netflix as a partner, he hopes to take the story to millions of viewers, not only in India but around the globe.
For Ruchikaa Kapoor Sheikh, director of Original Films, Netflix India, the process of working on the film with Ali has been "exhilarating". “Amar Singh Chamkila is set to be a huge film for Netflix India, and collaborating with the talent attached to the title has been truly rewarding… . Netflix's focus is to bring stories from across India to our local audiences and we’re confident that the magnetism of this story will also pique the interest of the film-loving audiences around the world," she adds.
Dosanjh, who has previously featured in Hindi films such as Phillauri, Udta Punjab and Good Newwz, adds that playing Amar Singh Chamkila has been one of the most challenging experiences of his career. "I am thrilled to be returning to Netflix with yet another exciting story. It has been a pleasure to work with Parineeti and the entire team that has worked extremely hard to bring this beautiful story to life," he says.
The film's music has been composed by Academy Award winner AR Rahman, who has previously collaborated with Ali on Rockstar, Highway and Tamasha. Dosanjh, also a singer, feels that working with Rahman was a meditative experience.
Chopra, who is essaying the role of Chamkila's wife and singing partner Amarjot, is grateful to Ali for this opportunity. "Sharing the screen with Diljit has been an immensely enriching experience. For me, singing is a passion, and to collaborate with the legendary AR Rahman has been a long-awaited dream," she says.
Chamkila and Amarjot were killed, along with two members of their band in 1988, in an assassination which remains unsolved.
Amar Singh Chamkila will be released in 2024.