Friday, April 19, 2024

Amar Singh Chamkila used dirty lyrics to success and an early death

As a teenager (and young adult) I was very used to vulgar songs and did my share of participating.  Mostly forgotten now.

"Amar Singh Chamkila"(2024) starts off with the assassination of Amar and his wife Amarjot, plus two band members.  We learn later that this crime is unsolved.

 Shortly after this we learn a little bit about Amar's success.  He sang vulgar songs.  An example of vulgarity was provided when a young girl asked what  "boner" meant.  An older expression I had long forgotten.  His songs had a beat that encouraged people to dance.

As Amar get rolling, he loses his first duet singer.  Quickly gets a second, Amajot and eventually was coerced into marrying her.  A detail that came out later was that he was already married.  They continue together and had a child.

His popularity was widespread.  Some young people asked some elderly women if they were aware of the vulgar songs and they admitted that they "discretely" danced to it.  He performs in other countries, particularly Canada where Punjabis have gathered

The thrust of this film is the conflict between popularity and censorship.  Sikh religious leaders at one point get him to sing devotional songs, but his fans protest.  Later the religious authorities threaten strong action and he is required to give up his "naughty" songs among some other restrictions.  He ignores and we return to the beginning of the film.

To give a feeling of reality we see archived footage videos and photos of the real couple side by side of the film couple that are stunningly similar.

It is a fascinating story of popularity and censorship.  You will get a sense of conflict.  The cast and crew are top notch.  Here are some of them.

Imtiaz Ali was director and script writer.  He has 18 writing credits, 11 directing and 6 for producer. including "Ahista Ahista" (2006),  "Love Aaj Kal" (2009), "Jab We Met" (2007), "Rockstar" (2011), "Highway" (2014) and "Tamasha" (2015)/  Check

A.R. Rahman, in truth he was the deciding point for me  as a lot of his music is in my library.    He had done commercial jingles when Mani Ratman invited him to write for a film "Roja" (1992).  I had not realized that Rahman wrote for the Tamil market, but has expanded to Bollywood,  American, English etc.  With the encouragement of  Andrew Lloyd Webber he wrote for a stage musical, "Bombay Dreams" that had long runs in both London and New York. He has 201 composing credits and 81 for the music department including "Bombay" (1995), "Fire" (1996), "Lagaan Once Upon a Time in India" (2001), "Swades" (2004), "Water" (2005), "Rang de Basanti" (2006), "Ghajini" (2008), "Slum Dog Millionaire" (2008), "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (2012), "Highway" (2014), "100 Foot Journey" (2014) and "Tamasha" (2015).    Check  Elsewhere Rahman had commented that he often gives producers a difficult time in order to get what he wants and feels the film benefits--this comes out a bit in this blog.

Sylvester Fonseca was in charge of cinematography.  He has 29 film credits including "Lust Stories" (2018), "Sacred Games" (2018-2019) and "Choked Paisa Bolta Hai" (2020).

Aarti Bajaj was the editor.  She has 47 credits including "Jab We Met" (2010), "Karthik Calling Karthik" (2011), "No One Killed Jessica" (2011), "Ishaqzaade" (2012) and and "Highway" (2014). 

Mukesh Chhabra was in charge of casting.  Mukesh Chhabra helped with the casting.   After studying acting he spent over six years teaching and acting.  He is noted for bringing such faces as Rajkummar Rao, Sushant Singh Rajpt, Mrunal Thakur, Prateik Gandhi, Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh to the screen.  He has 227 credits for casting (+ 29 for the casting department and 29 for acting) including "Amal" (2007), "Kai Che Po" (20130, "Wrong Side Raju" (2016), "Mom" (2017), "Sacred Games" (2018-19), "Sanju" (2018), "Notebook" (2019), "The Family Man" (2019), "Dil Bechara" (2020), "Laal Singh Chaddha" (2022), "Jaane Jaan" (2023) and "Dunki" (2023). For a film where Mukesh had a lasting impression check

Diljit Dosanjh played Amare Singh Chamkila.  He was the first Punjabi actor to be featured on New York Times Square.  He has 82 acting credits and 27 for the Music Departmnet including "Udta Punjab" (2016), "Phillauri" (2017), Soorma" (2018), "Good Newwz' (2019) and "Jogi" (2022).  Check

Parineeti Chopra played Amarjot, duet partner for Amar.  As a youngster she used to sing with her cousin Priyanka Chopra Jonas and their fathers.  She received triple honors at Manchester She took at job at Yash Raj Films as a public relations consultant, but soon got into acting getting a big breakthrough with her first film, "Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl" (2011).  She has 70 acting credist and 2 for the music department including "Ishaqzaade" (2012), "Shuddh Desi Romance" (20130, "Hassee Toh Phasee" (2014),"The Girl on the Train" (2021), "Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar" (2021) and "Mission Raniganj" (2024).

Anjum Batra played Tikki and one time friend of Amar.  He has 13 credits including "Dev D" (2009), "The Dirty Picture" (2011), "Jersey" (2022) and "Maamia Legal Hai" (2024).

Mohit Chauhan was a key backup singer, but also made a cameo appearance.   He once sang one of the most romantic songs in my memory in the film "Jab We Met" (2010).  He has 142 Music Departmnet and 16 as an actor  including "Rang di Basanti" (2006), "Delhi-6" (2009), "Love Aaj Kal" (2009), "Zindagi Na Milega Dobara" (2011), "Tamasha" (2015), "Sultan" (2016), "Lucknow Central" (2017), "Pad Man" (2018) and "Notebook" (2019).

This film enjoys popular and critical success.  Available on Netflix, subtitled or dubbed.  It captures a part of the Punjabi culture which has traveled globally including here in Canada..

I have bolded the first mention of a film I have seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment