May 20, 2024

Amar Singh Chamkila 2024 Movie Review

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Amar Singh Chamkila 2024 Movie Review

Amar Singh Chamkila Review: Finally, there is a film where I can say Imtiaz Ali is back. Of course, he can’t match his own magic of Jab We Met if we have to consider healthy commercial cinema, and that is likely to remain his best work for years, it seems. With Amar Singh Chamkila, he gets that OTT movie, which is actually made for an OTT experience. Once in a blue moon, Netflix (MAMI always does) arranged for a screening on the big screen, which seems to have helped me in my viewing experience. Usually, the same is hurt by mobile/laptop viewing. Bollywood isn’t really good with musical narrations. If we look back, Jagga Jasoos did attempt a Disney-like musical adventure, but the script disappointed. Gully Boy came as a nice surprise from urban-cinema lover Zoya cause it was based on a rapper’s life. Then we see something astonishing like “Hamilton” and realise Gully Boy was hardly 5% of it. Then we have movies like Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) and Elvis (2022), which are too late for Hollywood’s standards, who have been making musicals and musical biopics since the 1930s, right from Ziegfield to Yankee Doodle Dandy and so much else. Chamkila’s story finally reminds us that yes, we also have such stories, and even if we are almost a century late, we still have something new for our audiences. Ali’s passion for bringing the life of a controversial but sensational singer to life is visible from the very first scene until the last one. There are hardly any compromises with the true events, and with some Tarantino-like graphics, Ali creates a healthy musical biopic for Bollywood that we have been missing since Gully Boy.

The film opens with the ending scene, with Amar Singh Chamkila (Diljit Dosanjh) and his wife, Amarjot (Parineeti Chopra), getting shot brutally. Their bodies have no takers, and they are kept to rot right there. While their families are due to come and take the bodies for final rites, we meet several friends of Amar Singh who begin unfolding his life from his struggling days. Young Amar Singh has a knack for music but has no guidance. He gets one chance to perform in Akhaada and is presented as “Amar Singh CHAMKILA” by mistake in front of locals. He sings his own song, his first song, and it becomes a HIT amongst the listeners present there. So HIT that they boo the next singer, who was actually more popular than Chamkila a few moments ago. Chamkila becomes a sensation in no time and is now in need of a female partner for singing. There comes Amarjot, who can match his high tone and also get along fine with vulgar lyrics. She falls in love with Amar, and they get married, only to find out a shocking fact from Amar’s past. Chamkila becomes the highest-paid artist as well as the highest-selling artist in Punjab’s history, but when everything seems to be going fine, he is attacked and threatened by religious communities, social parties, and even goons over the use of extremely vulgar words in his songs. How Chamkila continues to find success against all odds while also having to fear for his life is what forms the crux of the story.

Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali’s writing piece may not be that great, but it’s pretty honest to the factual events. It’s the screenplay that makes it better, crispier, and more entertaining. Usually, we have subtitles at the bottom of the screen, but Chamkila has them all over the screen except the bottom. Whatever Chamkila and Amarjor or other female singers are singing in Punjabi, we get Hindi translations of it through colourful subtitles. Believe me, it’s so much fun reading them. The songs are foot-tapping already, so you have no issues with how many of them are there, and then there are some firecrackers of words. This combination alone is worth your watch; it doesn’t matter if you have no interest in Chamkila’s life. What comes as a surprise is comedy. It seems like ages since we have had a nice comedy from Imtiaz, and Chamkila makes it happen when nobody was expecting it to be one. The jokes are situational. You have to be in that moment to enjoy them. I am afraid your TV screen or mobile screen won’t do justice to it because it felt like a community viewing to me (in the premiere, when people were laughing, hooting, and clapping non-stop).

I have been underestimating Diljit Dosanjh as an actor ever since his debut, but no more of that stuff now. He proved that he can act; it’s just the director and the character that have to align well with his potential. He has lived this character. He is a singer and songwriter himself, so it helped him more than it could have helped other actors. There are hardly any high-dramatic scenes here, so he doesn’t get too many chances to get into that hardcore drama or emotional zone, but whatever he has done, it’s more than enough. He has brought Chamkila on screen with utter honesty, and that’s all that matters here. Parineeti Chopra doing that “nittt” with her lips and left cheek can make any man go flat for a moment. Her character also suffers from the same problem of not getting so many dramatic moments, so it looks like a very thin and simple character, even after so many ups and downs. The last frame of the movie has a split-screen comparison of these two reel characters and real footage of Amar and Amarjot. Only a few people dare show that unless they are damn sure about it. Watch out for that to learn how good Diljit and Parineeti are at portraying the real characters. Apinderdeep Singh, Nisha Bano, Rahul Mittra, Vipin Katyal, Anjum Batra, Udaybir Sandhu, Anhad Singh, and Sahiba Bali’s supporting cast unit put their honest efforts into making it a wholesome experience.

Chamkila is all about music, and you’ll know why when you are finished watching it. I can’t say that all of you will be addicted to it, but yes, half or more than half people will look out for Amar Singh Chamkila’s jukebox on Netflix’s YouTube channel after watching the film. “Ishq Mitaye” is my favourite of them all, “Naram Kaleja” is Rahman’s tribute to Chamkila’s trademark songs, “Tu Kya Jaane” is a typical romantic number where the heroine falls in love with the hero, “Bol Mohabbat” is a Kailash Kher phenomenon, and besides these, you have many of Chamkila’s original songs, be they vulgar chartbusters or devotional hits. The cinematography seemed pretty normal, and the editing was strictly okay. Overall, the film doesn’t bore you, except for a few minutes in the middle with dated melodrama.

Imtiaz Ali’s modern musical has everything you can expect from a masaledar biopic. Credit to Chamkila’s life, which has everything to make a perfect “Bollywood movie.” He rose from the ashes, became number one, had bad habits, had to struggle for his existence, was threatened, and then shot dead-see, a perfect script for a musical biopic on a controversial but popular artist. The film somehow tries to whitewash his image, but it doesn’t fare well there. Chamkila has no shame admitting that he was married, and Amarjot actually sees no problem in that except for one small heated argument. He openly blames the public for making him a villain, but eventually becomes their victim. It was the public who forced him to do those things, and yet he was blamed for spoiling society. I have seen this trend in our so-called educated society where people blame a cinema, an artist, or a song for spoiling children and youth. Okay, by that logic, we should have had hundreds of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other legendary personalities in our society because we have made films on them. I didn’t see anything happening like that, so why blame someone for a bad influence? Influences can be good too, but nobody gives a damn about that. Ali’s film asks you this question, and you have no answer but to look down and walk away. That’s why it is important to watch this film, not only because it’s a fun and entertaining watch and you need to know Chamkila and his life, but because society destroys honest artists. The same way, Hollywood shows their hit artists having sexual and extramarital affairs, sometimes homosexual, drugs, psychological frustrations, and depression, and then gets away with rave reviews. What’s wrong with Chamkila, then? Have a look, not because Chamkila was a legend or anything like that, but because he brought out what was inside you, even if it was bad. “Karte to sab hai, but chup chupke.”

Amar Singh Chamkila 2024 Movie Review