'Amar Singh Chamkila' Review: Diljit Dosanjh Impresses in Engaging Biographical Drama

‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ marks Imtiaz Ali’s return to form and features an earnest performance from Diljit Dosanjh.

Cast: Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Platform: Netflix

Rating: 3/5

‘Amar Singh Chamkila’, one of the most talked about releases of the month, has created a fair deal of buzz among fans as it is based on the life of the popular singer who was known as the ‘Elvis of Punjab’. It also marks Dijit Dosanjh’s first collaboration with filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, best known for his work on Saif Ali Khan’s ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2008) and the Shahid Kapoor-led Jab We Met (2007). So did the the biographical drama leave a strong impact on viewers and help Imtiaz bounce back after the underwhelming ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ (2017) and forgettable ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2020)

What’s Amar Singh Chamkila About?

The film revolves around Amar Singh Chamkila (Diljit Dosanjh), a small-time singer from a humble background who rises to fame with his musical abilities despite facing initial setbacks. He soon teams up Amarjot Kaur (Parineeti Chopra), his second wife,  to redefine the tenets of the industry. Their songs feature colorful lyrics that resonate with the masses but offend a section of society. Chamkila tries to mend his ways by switching to religious music but soon returns to his old ways to please his listeners. This has disastrous consequences for him and Amarjot. 


Imtiaz Ali Elevates A Familiar Story

Like most biographical dramas, this one also plays out as a rags-to-riches story and traces the central character’s rise to stardom as well as his downfall. Despite this, the film does not feel predictable or monotonous as Imtiaz Ali adopts a non-linear approach to keep the interest alive. The film begins with a gruesome sequence in which Chamkila and Amarjot are murdered in broad daylight. The sequence leaves the audience shell-shocked with its organic intensity and suddenness. The film then explores Chamkila’s struggles, passion for music, and legacy. It also delves into issues such as moral policing and censorship.

In a memorable sequence, a character gets into a heated discussion with the cops when they criticise Chamkila for his ‘vulgar’ songs. Similarly, in another unforgettable scene, the protagonist refuses to stop making songs as music is his very identity. These sequences are reminiscent of the ones seen in ‘Rockstar’, a gripping musical drama best remembered for the hard-hitting ‘Sadda Haq’ song. 

ALSO READ: Diljit Dosanjh Married to Indian-American Woman, Has a Son? ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ Star’s Friend Makes Shocking Claims

Despite this, Amar Singh Chamkila has its own identity and steers clear of a Rockstar hangover. The Ranbir Kapoor film played out as a star vehicle with a solid story and featured a well-defined romantic track. Amar Singh Chamkila, on the other hand, has a more realistic screenplay. Moreover, romance is hardly the backbone of the story in this case. Diljit and Parineeti make a good pair but their romantic journey does not get too much of prominence. The same applies to the subplot involving Chamkila’s father. The scenes between them feel raw and intense but are few and far in between. 


Diljit Dosanjh At His Earnest Best

Diljit is the heart and soul of Amar Singh Chamkila and hits the right notes with his restrained performance. His dialogue delivery feels conversational, which makes it easier for the audience to relate to the onsceen action. He also manages to exude a certain amount of swag when needed. Parineeti complements him and shines in a scene where she lashes out at Chamkila’s friend for hiding a secret. Her physical transformation too is quite commendable. However, one gets the feeling that the character’s graph is highly one-dimensional

The supporting cast, which includes names such as Nisha Bano and Rahul Mittra, serves its purpose. AR Rahman’s tunes gel with the narrative. ‘Ishq Mitaye’ is the best song of the lot. The editing is top-notch as the film feels crisp and does not drag.

To sum up, ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ marks Imtiaz Ali’s return to form and strikes a chord with its sincere performances.