Rising Indian musician and movie star Diljit Dosanjh plays legendary Punjab singer Amar Singh Chamkila in a new biopic supported by Netflix. The streamer unveiled the project on Tuesday along with a first teaser trailer (see below), describing the film as presenting “the untold true story of Punjab’s original rock star of the masses”.
Amar Singh Chamkila, as the film’s title is, is directed by Hindi hitmaker Imtiaz Ali, who has teamed up with acclaimed musician and composer AR Rahman on the project, who will be providing the film’s score and soundtrack. The duo previously worked together to great success, as a director and composer, on Bollywood hits, among other things rock star (2011) and Motorway (2014).
Diljit, whose international profile was boosted in April when he became the first Punjabi artist performing at Coachella, will do some of his own singing in the title role. Parineeti Chopra plays the female lead in the film and will also perform some original music, according to Netflix.
“Amar Singh Chamkila will be a huge movie for Netflix India and working with the talent associated with this movie has been really rewarding,” Ruchikaa Kapoor Sheikh, Netflix India’s director of original films, said in a statement. “Our collaboration with Imitiaz Ali on Chamkila’s provocative personality and story has been an exciting process. Netflix’s focus is to bring stories from all over India to our local audience and we are confident that the appeal of this story will also capture the interest of movie buffs around the world.”
Born into poverty in 1960, the real Amar Singh Chamkila went on to become one of the most popular singers the North Indian state of Punjab has ever produced. His candid depictions of village life in his lyrics—he often sang about extramarital affairs, youthful angst, and drug use—delighted his fans while angering more conservative factions. In 1988, at the height of his fame, he was shot and killed at the age of 27. His wife and two members of his band were also killed and the murders remain unsolved.
“The film follows the insane popularity of Chamkila’s daring songs which the society could not ignore or swallow,” said Ali. “With Netflix as a partner, I am humbled to bring our story to millions of viewers not only in India but around the world.”
Diljit added, “Playing Amar Singh Chamkila has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life.”
The script for Amar Singh Chamkila is co-written by Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali. The producers of the film for Netflix, which will release the film worldwide in 2024, include Mohit Choudhary, Select Media Holdings, Saregama and Reliance Entertainment.