Thursday, June 13, 2024

Punjab's Elvis Presley- Amar Singh Chamkila: Before the live show, wife, 2 companions were gunned down; The mystery of death has remained unsolved for 36 years


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The film Amar Singh Chamkila has been released on Netflix on 12th April. This film is made on Punjab's Dalit folk singer Amar Singh Chamkila, who was called the Elvis Presley of Punjab. Born in Dhubri, a small village in Ludhiana, Amar was an electrician, but he had a unique talent. He used to compose songs on extra marital affairs, love affairs and physical relationships between husband and wife. These songs of his used to be the first choice at weddings in Punjab.

His popularity was so much that he was called to sing at some wedding every day. It is also said that if Amar Singh Chamkila had refused to sing when he was busy, even marriages would have been postponed, but he had more haters than his fans. People used to dance to his songs, while many groups threatened him to kill him if he sang obscene and double meaning songs.

One day that threat proved true. Amar Singh Chamkila had come to sing at a wedding, but before he could sing, he was shot dead. 36 years have passed since his murder on March 8, 1988, but his real murderers could not be caught. The golden era of Punjabi folk singing ended with his death, but his popularity never diminished. Even today his songs are heard and hummed in Punjab.

Know today who was folk singer Amar Singh Chamkila and the story of his murder-

Amar Singh Chamkila was born in a poor Dalit family.

Amar Singh Chamkila was born on 21 July 1960 in a Dalit family of village Dugri, located near Ludhiana. Real name was Dhaniram. After becoming a singer, his name was Amar Singh Chamkila. Born in a poor family, Amar Singh Chamkila left studies at an early age and started earning.

Amar Singh Chamkila dreamed of becoming an electrician

Generally every young person dreams of becoming a doctor or engineer, however Amar Singh Chamkila wanted to become an electrician from an early age. When he regained consciousness, he got a job in a textile mill. Whenever he got free from work, Amar Singh used to sing bright tunes.

Picture of Amar Singh Chamkila taken while singing at a wedding.

Picture of Amar Singh Chamkila taken while singing at a wedding.

Seeing the happenings around him, he used to start singing on them. With increasing time, Amar's interest in music started awakening and he started singing. Along with the village people, he also learned to play harmonium and dholki. Whenever there was any wedding in the village, he would often attend it with his friends carrying a dholki.

First marriage took place at a young age, two daughters died.

Amar Singh Chamkila was married to Gurmail Kaur, who lived in the village. Both of them had 4 children, but sadly, out of them only their 2 daughters Amaldeep and Kamaldeep could survive.

Got a chance to sing at the age of 18

At that time, the name of Surinder Shinda, who was a resident of Ludhiana, was famous in the Punjab music industry. One day Surinder Shinda had reached his village. When Surinder Shinda started leaving the village, Amar Singh Chamkila took out his bicycle and followed him with his friend Kuldeep Paras sitting on the back.

During the meeting, Amar Singh Chamkila told him that he also wanted to become a singer like him. He presented a sample of his singing on the spot. Surinder Shinda was so impressed by his voice that he hired 18 year old Amar Singh Chamkila. Amar Singh started considering Surinder as his guru and started going to stage shows with him.

Amar Singh Chamkila used to write and compose tunes and Surinder Shinda used to sing the same songs on stage. On some occasions, Surinder Shinda also gave Amar Singh Chamkila a chance to sing along. While doing stage shows, he met famous Punjabi folk singers K. I also got a chance to perform with people like Deep, Mohammad Sadiq.

I used to get salary of only Rs 100

Surinder Shinda got a lot of recognition from the songs written by Amar Singh Chamkila. However, Amar Singh Chamkila remained just a writer. On the other hand, his salary was only Rs 100 per month, whereas Surinder Shinda used to earn thousands by singing his songs.

In the early 80s, there was a rift between Surinder Shinda and his group's female lead singer Surinder Sonia. Actually, Surinder Shinda had taken Gulshan Komal with him on the Canada tour instead of Sonia. Sonia was so angry with this that she asked Amar Singh Chamkila to form her new team. Amar Singh Chamkila clearly refused to betray his mentor, but with time he agreed to form a new team and make his mark on his own.

In the year 1980, Amar Singh Chamkila and Sonia's album 'Takue Te Takua' was released, in which both of them sang 8 duet songs. This album was a big hit throughout Punjab and Amar Singh Chamkila started getting many offers for programs and stage shows. The pairing of both was a big hit in Punjab.

Picture of Amar Singh Chamkila and Sonia's album.

Picture of Amar Singh Chamkila and Sonia's album.

Amar Singh Chamkila used to write songs on double meaning, alcohol and domestic violence

Amar Singh Chamkila used to write his own songs. The lyrics of his songs were mostly on extra marital affairs, alcohol and increasing drug use in Punjab. He also used to compose his own songs. Many of his songs were also on relationships, which had double meaning. Many people used to say that Amar Singh used to sing flashy obscene songs, but these songs became his identity.

Got cheated in first partnership, created identity alone

The manager of Amar Singh Chamkila and his partner Sonia was Sonia's husband. Both their songs were definitely becoming hits, but their manager Amar Singh used to pay more fees to Sonia than Chamkila. He used to get around Rs 800 for each programme, out of which Rs 600 were given to Sonia and only Rs 200 were given to Amar Singh Chamkila. When he raised his voice against this cheating, a fight broke out and the team broke up.

Amar Singh Chamkila and Sonia together sang a total of 99 songs.

Amar Singh Chamkila and Sonia together sang a total of 99 songs.

Fell in love with the singer of the group, then there was a dispute after marriage

Amar Singh Chamkila did not give up when the team broke up and started performing with different female singers.

Amar Singh Chamkila was looking for a permanent female singer. Meanwhile he met Amarjot. He liked Amarjot's voice and both started singing together. The duo's first album Bhul Gayi Main Ghund Khadna was a huge hit. While spending time together during the program, both of them started liking each other and got married.

Amar Singh glowing while performing with his wife Amarjot.

Amar Singh glowing while performing with his wife Amarjot.

The marriage of Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot was in controversies due to many reasons. The first controversy was that Amar Singh Chamkila was already married. The second biggest controversy was that Amar Singh Chamkila was a Dalit and Amarjot was an upper caste Jat. Many times different groups used to threaten to kill him. However, those threats did not affect their relationship. A year after marriage, Amarjot gave birth to son Jaiman Chamkila.

Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot with son Jaiman.

Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot with son Jaiman.

Due to his increasing popularity, Amar Singh Chamkila started getting offers to sing from big studios. Many of his songs were also recorded, whose cassettes were released. The songs sung and written by him were such hits that they were black marketed. Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot's biggest hit song Pahele Lalkare Naal Main Darr Gayi Raha.

Picture of Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot clicked for the cover of an album song.

Picture of Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot clicked for the cover of an album song.

Amar Singh Chamkila's programs were also held in Canada and Dubai.

Apart from Punjab and Delhi, Amar Singh Chamkila's songs were also discussed in foreign countries. He also did many stage shows in Canada. He was also invited to sing many times from Dubai. According to the report of Indian Express, he used to charge Rs 500 for a stage show and Rs 4,000 for singing at a wedding.

People used to postpone weddings if they did not get dates.

Amar Singh Chamkila was the most famous Punjabi singer of that era. It is said that if he refused to sing at a wedding because he was busy, people used to change the dates of the wedding according to his schedule.

I used to get death threats every day.

As the popularity of Amar Singh Chamkila was increasing, the list of his enemies was also increasing. Many singers who worked with him were irritated by his success and criticized his songs and lyrics. Many times false rumors were spread to tarnish his image. In the late 80s, he started receiving death threats on a daily basis.

Apology sought from Sikh militant group for obscene songs

When the number of threats started increasing, Amar Singh Chamkila apologized to a group of Sikh militants. He had also assured that he would not write obscene songs from now on.

Used to play obscene songs to the audience on request.

Fearing threats, Amar Singh Chamkila stopped singing obscene and double meaning songs and started singing religious songs. Whenever he sang religious songs at weddings, people used to demand obscene songs from him. Initially, he clearly refused to write obscene songs, but when the demand started increasing, he started writing and singing similar songs again.

Shot by unknown killers, wife Amarjot was also killed.

On March 8, 1988, Amar Singh Chamkila along with his wife Amarjot and 3 friends had come to perform at a wedding being held in Mahamgaon near Phillaur. As soon as 27-year-old Amar Singh Chamkila got down from the car with his companions, some unknown people started firing indiscriminately at them. In this attack, Amar Singh Chamkila, his wife Amarjot, companions Baldev and Ranjeet were killed, while one companion was injured.

Photograph of the dead bodies of Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot taken after the murder.

Photograph of the dead bodies of Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot taken after the murder.

Many theories surfaced after the death, killer not found

After the death of Amar Singh Chamkila, his family did not file any complaint against his killers. The surprising thing is that despite being such a big and famous artist, even the police did not make any effort to find the killers.

However, from time to time different theories of his death emerged. It was said that Khalistanis killed him because of obscene lyrics. While some believed that many people were unhappy with her after being a Dalit and marrying Jat Amarjot. A theory also emerged that the singers of his time got him murdered because of his success. However, what was the real reason could not be known even after 39 years of his death.

Imtiaz Ali made the film

The film Amar Singh Chamkila has been released on Netflix on 12 April. In the film, popular singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh plays the role of Amar Singh Chamkila, while Parineeti Chopra plays the role of his wife Amarjot.

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