The Real Story of ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ Played By Diljit Dosanjh in Biopic


All that glitters is not gold, but there is one person who shone brightly in the 80s with his voice and continues to shine even today! Imtiaz Ali is all set with his new Netflix release, starring Diljit Dosanjh in the lead role as Chamkila, and Parineeti Chopra playing the role of his wife, Amarjot. This biopic is based on the life of Amar Singh Chamkila, a popular Punjabi singer from the 80s who was adored by the entire Punjabi community worldwide for his songs. Hailing from a small place called Dugri, his talent for singing and playing the harmonium propelled him into the world of music.

On March 8, 1988, while on his way to perform at a concert, Chamkila, his wife, and two other band members were shot and killed on the spot. Chamkila’s life was nothing short of a movie, filled with love, fame, and controversies. To introduce this “Elvis of Punjab,” Imtiaz is releasing his new movie, Chamkila, which showcases the life journey of this gifted singer, who became the highest-selling record artist in Punjab’s history

Image credits: Instagram/imtiazali_the_storyteller

Who is ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ ?

He was born in 1960 in Dugri, near Ludhiana, Punjab, and was named Dhunni Ram. His natural talent for singing and playing the harmonium and dholki was acknowledged by Surinder Shinda while he was singing while riding a bicycle! At the mere age of 18, Amar was introduced to renowned folk artists like Mohammad Sadiq and K. Deep.

From there, Amar entered the world of music, and he became known as Amar Singh ‘Chamkila’ because he always sparkled while singing on stage. Initially, he partnered with the female singer Surinder Sonia, but due to issues with low payment, Amar left the band and started looking for another duet artist. That’s when he met Amarjot, and the two of them not only created magic in live concerts but also got married.


Image credits: Wikipedia

The Rise of a Star!

After completing his schooling, he worked in a clothing mill during his early days until Surinder Shinda discovered him and helped him record his songs alongside other talented folk artists.

His first major hit was the album “Takue Te Takua,” which was released in 1980 and produced by Charanjit Ahuja. However, he was only receiving Rs. 100 as payment from his then duet partner Surinder Sonia’s husband and manager.

Later on, after performing with a few other singers and bands, Chamkila decided to form his own band in 1980. Within a short period, his band became so famous that at one point, he was rumored to be performing in 366 shows in 365 days of the year!

The Famous Songs of Amar Singh Chamkila

From 1970 until his final performance in 1988, Chamkila ruled the hearts of every Punjabi music lover. His songs encompassed the essence of youth, love, and the harsh realities of Punjab. His music touched upon topics such as village life, Punjabi masculinity, drug and gun culture, extramarital affairs, dowry, and alcoholism.

Chamkila’s songs were relatable, unlike the polished tunes of Gurdas Mann, Surinder Kaur, and Asa Singh Mastana. They were raw, unapologetically true to the happenings within Punjab, and greatly enjoyed by the local people.

Some of his famous songs include “Pehle Lalkare Naal,” “Talwar Main Kalgidhar Di,” “Baba Tera Nankana,” and “Jatt Di Dushmani.” He wrote and sang the majority of his songs, showcasing his impressive talent. Throughout his lifetime, he recorded over 90 songs.

The Controversy: Who Was Behind Chamkila’s Death?

On a bright day on March 8, 1988, at around 2 pm, Amar Singh Chamkila, his wife Amarjot Singh, and three other band members stepped out of a white Ambassador car to perform an afternoon concert in Mehsampur. Suddenly, a group of motorcyclists approached and shot them, resulting in the tragic demise of Chamkila, his wife, and the entire entourage.

At the time of his untimely death, Amar Singh Chamkila had conquered the Punjabi music industry. He was merely 27 years old, and his loss was mourned by thousands of fans. Some claim that Punjabi militants were angered by his explicit and uninhibited lyrics, leading to his assassination in an attempt to curb their influence. Others allege that the family of his wife, Amarjot, who disapproved of her marriage to a lower-class Punjabi, may have been involved in an honor killing. Astonishingly, no FIR was filed, and no one was ever arrested in connection with this crime. Numerous conspiracy theories have circulated, but the case remains unsolved.

The Rockstar of Masses is Coming Back!

To date, a biography titled “Awaz Mardi Nahin” by Gulzar Singh Shaunki has been written about him, and a documentary called “Mehsampur” has been made about the same incident. However, the new teaser for the upcoming Netflix movie is bringing much-needed attention to the story, once again shining a spotlight on the dazzling life of Amar Singh Chamkila. We are eagerly anticipating the movie and reliving the journey of the man also known as the Rockstar of the Masses!

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