‘Chamak’ True Story Explained: Is It Based On Real-Life Singer Amar Singh Chamkila?

Chamak, the brand-new Sony LIV Original, is about a young man named Kaala who is on a quest to find the killer who murdered his parents over twenty years ago. His parents, Taara Singh and Navpreet Kaur, were not ordinary citizens. They were legendary Punjabi singers who created social upheaval with their songs and lyrics. They were killed on the stage while performing, and Kaala was taken away to Canada to be raised by his uncle. This is the premise of the show. Kulvinder Singh Gill, aka Kaala, was unaware of his parentage. His affinity for music was also because of his deceased parents, a piece of information he had been kept away from all his life up until now. Kaala is stubborn about finding out who killed his parents, and thus he goes on a long quest to locate the perpetrators.

As the show began, it was hard not to ignore the resemblance between Taara Singh Gill and his wife Navpreet Kaur’s story and the tale of the legendary Punjabi singers Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot Kaur. In the show, there are many scenes involving the deaths of Taara and his wife to create an impact and convey Kaala’s motivation behind going after the killers. This scene was shot from various vantage points to show the depth of the tragedy and how it changed the course of Kaala’s life ever since. In Chamak, Taara and Navpreet were performing when two gunmen opened fire on the stage and instantly killed the couple. 

The story of Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife, Amarjot, are very similar to the fictional characters created by Rohit Jugraj. The name of the show is also taken from the last name of the legendary singer, which loosely translates to shine or shining. These two real and fictional people shined and stood out in the Punjab music industry. The couple, Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot, along with some of their band members, were attacked by unknown gunmen whose aim was to kill the legendary couple in broad daylight. The couple was instantly killed, as shown in Chamak as well. The makers of the show made it obvious from the day the trailer was dropped.

The makers of the show went one step further and offered the audience a fictional tale of a long-lost son who is back in India to become an artist without realizing his legacy, which is the reason why he picked up music and relentlessly pursued it like a madman. However, Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot Kaur did not have any children together, but the male singer had three children with a previously deceased wife, one son, and two daughters. Jaiman Chamkila is a singer and musician who has followed in the footsteps of his legendary father and made sure the legacy lives on.

Kaala in the show Chamak made it his goal to not just become one of the most revered artists of the Punjab music industry but to find out who, from his father’s circle or outside, planned and executed the murder of his parents in broad daylight. In the show, the gunmen were arrested and put behind bars for their crimes, but none of them revealed who hired them to do so. Rohit Jugraj and his team took enormous cinematic liberties by expanding on the story regarding the deaths. This was the highlight of the show, which forced Kaala to seek the people on his own. The gunmen who fired from their AK47s and killed Amar Chamkila, his wife, and several band members were never caught by the police. The investigation into this case also took law enforcement to a dead end. There is a big mystery around why the legendary singer and his wife, along with their band members, were killed at such a young age.

In the show Chamak, Gurpal Singh, the journalist, talks about caste-based discrimination happening in the journalism field and how Taara was the first artist who refused to speak to journalists from upper castes because they never seemed to understand the struggles of his community. This is where Gurpal Singh came into the picture. Taara gave Gurpal long interviews only because they belonged to the same community. Taara’s songs, as per the details provided by Gurpal, focused on social and caste-related issues. Gurpal could resonate with it back in the day, and it brought them closer to each other as professionals. Gurpal did not hesitate to reveal that many members of the upper caste around the state were irked and disturbed by Taara, who projected his identity and spoke about caste politics in his songs.

The same could be said about the songs released by Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife. The couple were popular singers, but the reason behind their popularity was the songs, the lyrics, and the politics attached to them. The singers were known to have touched on many taboo subjects that resonated with many in the state, which is why they were widely recognizable and were in demand. The couple, at the peak of their popularity, were known to have performed every day for a year. This showcases the demand for reality-based music and lyrics. People were only exposed to a certain kind of fantasy-based art or cinema. Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot reinvented the wheel and exposed society’s habit of turning away from reality.

There was not much of a conspiracy theory about their deaths, as vividly explained in the show about Taara and Navpreet. There was an honor killing angle in the show that was explored, which threw light on how women were under the control of the elders and the male members of the family. If a woman like Navpreet dares to do differently, they would be killed instantly for crossing the line drawn only for them. The family in the show proudly claims they would have killed her the day she left and not waited for her to perform on a public stage with her husband.

Amar Singh Chamkila’s real name was Dunni Ram, and he belonged to a backward caste, while his wife, Amarjot, was from the Jatt community. There are still no reports or any indication that their death was a case of honor killing or that they were killed by any upper-caste group who were against their songs and them being together as a couple. The show by Rohit Jugraj brought up these subjects and conspiracy theories involving the deaths of two of the most legendary singers. The makers claim the story to be fictional, but people who are aware of the Chamkila story would know the influence is evident.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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