‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ an opportunity to make a cinematic film for OTT, says Imtiaz Ali : The Tribune India

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‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ an opportunity to make a cinematic film for OTT, says Imtiaz Ali

Ali said he started listening to Chamkila’s songs before making the film to understand the psyche of the musician, who courted controversies with the lyrics of his songs.

‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ an opportunity to make a cinematic film for OTT, says Imtiaz Ali

Imtiaz Ali and Diljit Dosanjh on the set of ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’. File photo



PTI

Mumbai, March 21

“Amar Singh Chamkila” was an interesting opportunity to make a cinematic film in the OTT space, says filmmaker Imtiaz Ali on the upcoming biopic that took him to different corners of Punjab.

The film, starring musician-actor Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra, revolves around the life and time of Amar Singh Chamkila, a popular Punjabi singer in the 80s who was shot dead with his singer-wife Amarjot in 1988.

“The movies that I really enjoy on OTT platforms are extremely cinematic and those are the movies I enjoy in theatres as well. I believe people want to watch cinematic movies, irrespective of the platform.

“For me, it’s an opportunity to make a very cinematic film on OTT because it'll have a different kind of reach. Also, I wanted to prove to myself, not to anybody else, that a cinematic film works on both OTT and in theatres,” the filmmaker told PTI in an interview.

Known for modern relationship dramas such as “Jab We Met”, “Love Aaj Kal”, “Rockstar” and “Tamasha”, Ali said when he got the script for Chamkila’s biopic, he was initially not sure whether he wanted to direct the movie.

But the story kept getting interesting and the filmmaker realised he had something to say through Chamkila’s story.

“It’s not a word or a sentence. It’s more like a feeling or a state of mind. I’ve tried to be as authentic as possible but within that, I feel that there is my voice in it,” he said.

Punjab has served as a backdrop in many of his stories, most notably in “Jab We Met” and “When Harry Met Sejal”, but “Amar Singh Chamkila” helped him connect with people from the interiors of the state.

“We travelled to small villages and met people who make most of this state and this country, which are rural people. They don’t claim to be intellectuals and are connected by music or cinema. To connect with those people and the rawness of the land, has been interesting, unlike my other experiences.”

The filmmaker said he was fascinated by Chamkila’s approach to music, which he treated as a “friend, an escape route from reality and as something that empowered him”.

“For me, this film is like a relationship between Chamkila and music. The other thing is how non-intellectual his approach was as far as his own life was concerned. He gave no argument or justification for his music. Also, he paid the price with his life.” Ali said he started listening to Chamkila’s songs before making the film to understand the psyche of the musician, who courted controversies with the lyrics of his songs.

“There is an art in expressing something which is slightly bold without saying a bad word, but the so-called objectionable part of his lyrics were always suggestive. That’s like how it has been in old Punjabi folk as well, especially the songs that women sing in Punjab have that boldness or that suggestiveness, and that’s a part of our culture.”

Some of Chamkila’s popular songs include ‘Takue Te Takua’, ‘Pehle Lalkare Naal’, ‘Jatt Di Dushmani’, and devotional tracks like ‘Baba Tera Nankana’ and ‘Talwar Main Kalgidhar Di’.

Most of the film’s music, which is composed by AR Rahman, was recorded on set with the actors singing live. Ali said it was important to have actors who could sing and Diljit and Parineeti were perfect.

“It was inevitable that the actors had to be the singers. So, if Diljit wasn’t in the film, then I don’t know whether the film could be made. He’s an authentic singer from Punjab who understands life, the cultural context and the linguistics of Chamkila better than anybody. It has been an interesting journey with him on this film.”

“Amar Singh Chamkila” is the first biopic that Ali has directed. He said making a film that is backed by facts was an interesting process. 

#Diljit Dosanjh #Mumbai #Parineeti Chopra


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