Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: Imtiaz Ali's Amar Singh Chamkila opens with a chilling scene: Chamkila (Diljit Dosanjh) and his wife Amarjot (Parineeti Chopra) are assassinated in broad daylight as they arrive for their performance in 1988. Both are killed by unidentified gunmen, and the rest of the movie unfolds through snippets told by Chamkila's friends and former aides-turned-foes as they react to the shocking deaths and speculate on who might have killed them. Amar Singh Chamkila tells the compelling story of a performer who earned fame but lost his life because he delivered what his admirers expected from him. Amar Singh Chamkila OTT Release: Here's Where to Watch Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra's Film Online!

I particularly appreciated the entire opening sequence of Chamkila, starting from those disturbing murders. The placement and picturisation of the song "Baaja" in the opening credits sequence is a brilliant choice, as it presents both sides - the late singer's admirers and his detractors. Despite the popularity of his songs, Amar Singh Chamkila was accused by critics of corrupting society with his suggestive lyrics. As a child, Chamkila is struck by the sleaziness around him, which becomes the inspiration for his songwriting.

Watch the Trailer of Amar Singh Chamkila:

His rise to stardom and even his epithet 'Chamkila' are flukes (the naming scene reminded me of how Peter Parker got his moniker in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man). But once he takes the stage, there is no turning back for Chamkila. The film then covers his journey to superstardom, his meeting with Amarjot who joins his troupe as the female singer before marrying him, the various controversies in his life before circling back to his death.

A Still From Amar Singh Chamkila

After that powerful opening sequence, Amar Singh Chamkila settles into telling an accessible life story in a simplistic way. The narration device frames around Chamkila's aides offering anecdotes of his life to a police officer investigating the shootout. I wasn't a fan of this framing device, as some portions and performances felt slightly overdramatic and contrived, even if it allows the movie to progress chapter-wise.

Using 'live' performances of Diljit and Parineeti was a nice idea as it gives viewers who are unfamiliar with why Chamkila and his songs were so popular an understanding of how he managed to win over the audience. The first half is very engaging and the romantic track between the leads is sweetly handled. Just when things are moving a little too smoothly and Imtiaz manages to create enough sympathy for the protagonist, he introduces a major twist that shrouds Chamkila in grey.

A Still From Amar Singh Chamkila

Without revealing details, Amar Singh Chamkila shakes things up with this twist, and I was pleased to see the film not taking the safe, white-washing route. However, my expectations were a little high. In a couple of scenes, the issue is dealt with swiftly, and Chamkila and Amarjot, who have their first major fight over this, quickly move on, along with the biopic that returns to its safe mode. Diljit Dosanjh Is MARRIED, Amar Singh Chamkila Star's Indian-American Wife And Son Live In US - Reports.

There's another scene where the investigating police officer argues with Chamkila's grieving aide about why he thinks the singer's tracks need to be banned, while the aide argues that a few people cannot decide for the masses. The conversation raises the issue of censorship, which is undoubtedly bad in any form, but it dismisses the idea of criticism of such songs in favour of majoritarian appeasement. We are living in times where it is firmly established that majoritarian opinions are not always conducive to the well-being of society, and for that matter, we can use the same argument to support item songs and even the vulgarity displayed in Bhojpuri cinema.

A Still From Amar Singh Chamkila

Whenever Chamkila's songs were performed, we see men dancing in front of him, enjoying the bawdiness of the songs. With the track "Naram Kaalja," whose picturisation and choreography are definitely standout, Imtiaz quirkily shows that even women loved his songs, attempting to end the debate here. It doesn't matter if the songs still fantasise about family members. Still, these scenes spruce up the screenplay because there are times when Amar Singh Chamkila sees a slowdown in the second half after Chamkila begins to face more opposition to his songs. The anecdotes just don't become a more solidified depiction of its central figure where his personality is more or less linked only to his songs - even his relationship with Amarjot takes a backseat - and the movie, once again, falls into biopics' usual crime of softening up its protagonist.

The biggest takeaway from the film is, of course, Imtiaz Ali gaining some semblance of form after delivering back-to-back disappointments since the mixed response to the 2015 film Tamasha. Amar Singh Chamkila is still not among Ali's more cohesive works, but we can see a director gaining some control here. It is AR Rahman who is in a more sparkling form with a beautiful soundtrack. Besides the aforementioned songs, tracks like "Ishq Mitave" and "Tu Kya Jaane" continue to linger in your mind even after the movie ends and are bound to enter your mobile playlist. At least, I have added them in mine.

A Still From Amar Singh Chamkila

Amar Singh Chamkila wouldn't have worked without the lead performer acing the role. Diljit Dosanjh effortlessly embodies the character, his experience as a stage performer enhancing the portrayal of the grounded swag of the doomed singer. Parineeti Chopra delivers a decent performance, although her character lacks sufficient depth to showcase her full potential. Ultimately, I found Amarjot's story to be more tragic - marrying a lover who conceals a significant deception, defying her entire family, yet unable to dissuade him from performing songs that could endanger them. However, the film relegates her to collateral damage, a regrettable oversight.

Final Thoughts on Amar Singh Chamkila

With an evocative soundtrack from AR Rahman, above-par direction from Imtiaz Ali and a splendid performance from Diljit Dosanjh, Amar Singh Chamkila turns out to be a watchable if overlong biopic of a tragic legend who was doomed for doing what he loved most - entertaining his audience. However, the screenplay lacks consistency in delivering a strong impact towards the end, and the supporting cast, including Parineeti Chopra, gets little scope when the lead character hogs all the spotlight. Amar Singh Chamkila is streaming on Netflix.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 12, 2024 12:56 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website