Amar Singh Chamkila Is A Gritty Story Of An Iconic Singer

By Romey Norton
Published: April 12, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
Amar Singh Chamkila Is A Gritty Story Of An Iconic Singer
Amar Singh Chamkila | Image via Netflix


A moving movie-musical taking us on Chamkila’s powerful journey from laborer to legendary singer.

India is known for its musical movies, usually filled with drama and romance. What makes Amar Singh Chamkila different, why it has so much depth and poignancy, is that it is based on the true story of the late Punjabi rock star.

I enjoyed that the film is movie-musical, with singing from the beginning, and I can see this being brought to the stage. Through the music you get a feel for Chamkila himself, and why his art was so different, forward-thinking, inspiring, and hated in his religion and culture. 

The story follows the humble singer’s career, how his brash lyrics ignited fame and fury across Punjab, and how he managed soaring success and extreme criticism before his tragic and untimely death. Amar Singh Chamkila, his wife Amarjot Kaur, and the members of their musical band were assassinated on March 8, 1988.

Amar Singh Chamkila Review

Amar Singh Chamkila | Image via Netflix

Parineeti Chopra plays the character of Amarjot, and Diljit plays Chamkila. Both excel in their roles with utterly compelling performances. 

Amar Singh Chamkila chronicles the life of Chamkila, who offered a commentary through music on illicit relationships, alcohol, dowry, domestic violence, and drug abuse in a feudal society. For this, he was not well-liked and appreciated. Along with exploring his music, the film reflects the social undercurrents of the border state where farmer, soldier, and driver have been principal occupations over centuries. 

The cinematography is stunning. There is an excellent range of locations, colors, and shooting styles. With the upbeat music, drumming sections, and soulful singers, each scene is a small artistic masterpiece. One moment you’re listening intently, then wanting to dance around your room.

Amar Singh Chamkila Review

Amar Singh Chamkila | Image via Netflix

The film has a great mix of intense drama and frivolous fun. There are sections like pages from a comic book, which adds a little comedy and pushes scenes and time along cleverly. 

Towards the end of the film, the focus is on why Chamkila is targeted out of all other artists doing similar work and opens the door to the many conspiracy theories surrounding his brutal death.

Amar Singh Chamkila is, overall, very emotional and moving; to watch someone live through oppression and opposition, but still be determined and full of hope, is humbling. What a shame he was targeted and killed for his art. 


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