Updated April 26th, 2024 at 22:13 IST

Imtiaz Ali Reveals How 'Theth Punjabi' Setting Of Amar Singh Chamkila Makes It Universal

Amar Singh Chamkila stars Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra. It is based on the popular Punjabi singer whose music was controversial, risqué and provocative.

Imtiaz Ali | Image:Varinder Chawla

Imtiaz Ali has directed his debut biopic with the recent release Amar Singh Chamkila. The musical is headlined by Diljit Dosanjh and is based on the life of the eponymous, slain Punjabi musician. Premiered on Netflix on April 12, the film has been lauded by critics and audiences alike. Days after the release, the director shed light on the multiple techniques of filmmaking, not manipulating the facts, and keeping the setting colloquial. 

Imtiaz Ali on why he decided to not copy American movies 

In an interview with PTI, Imtiaz Ali shared how he thinks the musical drama is a film with universal appeal. He asserted that while the essence of the movie was ‘desi’, the makers consciously chose to not ape the Western style of biopic. Thus the resultant crossover film has elements of animation, real shoot as well as sketches. 

Imtiaz shared, “We actually went local in order to make it very universal and people could understand. It's quite a 'theth Punjabi' setting, but that makes it a very universal film.” In his view, the soul of the film, about a young singer paying the price for singing bold lyrics, is universal. 

I had to break the grammar, says Imtiaz Ali on Amar Singh Chamkila 

In the same conversation, Ali admitted that since the story of Chamkila was based on real-life incidents, he could not tamper with the facts. However, he confessed that some scenes had to be designed differently for ease of shooting. He said, “Since this is a true life story, I decided that as much as possible, I will not manipulate the events that are being told to me... There were some compulsions. I had to break the grammar.” 

Sharing an instance from the scene of a song in which a roof falls when several ladies step on it, the director shared, “Come to think of it, it must be so painful for those women who must have fallen. We did not want to show it in a realistic manner, so we had to go for animation.” He used the same technique to show Diljit’s character as a smoker. He added, “I never have smoking in my films. However, it was a very important to show that Chamkila lights up a 'bidi'. I used animation over there too.” Headlined by Diljit Dosanjh and Parineeti Chopra, Amar Singh Chamkila is streaming on Netflix. 


Published April 26th, 2024 at 22:13 IST