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AMAR SINGH CHAMKILA Pre-Release Soundtrack – The initially released soundtrack has a strange disconnect because of an alien sound and unrelated songs, hence there must be many more different tracks in the film, representing the icon. (Music Notes by Bobby Sing)

03 Apr, 2024 | Just In / Articles on Cinema / Articles on Music, Poetry and Life

To begin with, it firstly makes a huge difference whether one is well familiar with the Chamkila kind of songs or has just heard the name without any knowledge of either the era or his music.
For the ones not familiar with the genre of songs Chamkila was famous for, the initially released 6 songs soundtrack of the film can be anything ranging from average to good but nothing exceptional except its most promoted song “Ishq Mitaye”. They opened the promotion with this song as it is indeed the best of all hands down, with an instantly likable groove and minimalistic sound, even when many would not be getting its unrelatable lyrics.
However, for the listeners who know the music of the 80s (the era the film talks about) - the sound, the music arrangement, and the style of the soundtrack are a complete mismatch in terms of a bio-pic depicting four decades past. A performance in those times, whether in an open 'akhada' (a community show) or at a wedding/family function, simply had the singers at the mike and a few accompanists playing the instruments led by a harmonium and dholak along with a tumbi, flute, algoza, chimta or matka. 
Hence a Chamkila bio-pic having such an upbeat, new-age sound is quite awkward as a mismatch, which cannot be, with Diljit Dosanjh there in the team knowing it all. Strangely, the icon does not even sing in any of the six tracks released. The fact points towards something concealed, something more, something yet not revealed as they cannot make a Chamkila bio-pic with these six songs alone and nothing else. They certainly cannot make Chamkila with non-Punjabi singers forcefully singing Hindi-Punjabi words and phrases in a questionable manner and Diljit remaining silent.
So, I strongly believe there must be more authentically sounding, old-school style songs in the film primarily featuring Diljit and Parineeti (as a singer), justifying the period bio-pic of an iconic singer. A film on Chamkila essentially demands those lyrics, vocals, and sound, and that has to be there in the film moving ahead of this pre-release soundtrack. 
Keeping the confusion for the later part of the write-up, as a music review, firstly, there is a major disconnect as the soundtrack does not gel with the period theme. Besides, the best song “Ishq Mitave” (Mohit Chauhan) would easily fit in any Punjab-based Bollywood film soundtrack composed by Rahman irrespective of its genre without any change. It will perfectly fit in like a ‘T.’ You will like it even then, moving to its catchy groove, as the song has nothing to do with Chamkila unless the film creates some exceptional magic on the screen. But even then, the technical mismatch of sound and treatment will always remain, maintaining a gap. 
Interestingly the chorus in “Ishq Mitave” coming towards the end along with “Main Hoon Punjab” strongly reminded me of the chorus in “Saada Haq Aithe Rakh” created by the same team more than a decade back.
The second track NARAM KAALJA (Alka Yagnik, Richa Sharma, Pooka Tiwari, Yashika Sikka) as an ‘all girls’ teasing song, again uses the same routine, mixed khichdi of Hindi-Punjabi words and I am surprised it also includes phrases like “Allarh Jhallarh”, “Dum Dum Daingar Daingar” and “Mar Jaavan Gud Khaake”. The inclusion indicates non-Punjabi people trying to create Punjabi in a deliberate manner as many think a Punjabi song must have “Balle Balle”, “Shava Shava”, “Hoye Hoye”, “Adippa” “Chak De Phatte”, “Gud Khaake” and more similar expressions in it. Moreover, the key phrase of the song seems to be inspired by “Mera Naram Kaalja Dhadke” a famous duet of Harcharan Garewal and Surinder Kaur from the 70s.
The next TU KYA JAANE (Yashika Sikka) is an average love song, which keeps trying to present a desired melody but is not able to create any magic. BAAJA (Mohit Chauhan, Romy, Suryansh, Inderpreet Singh) is a dramatic ‘sutradhaar’ kind of song narrating the story of Chamkila with words like Chamkila-Sexeela. It has a Marathi flavour, giving you the feel of a play or a stage performance, and is also an end-credit kind of song with minimum repeat value. The chorus part in this too is like something heard before in a Rahman soundtrack.
The track BOL MOHABBAT (A.R. Rahman, Kailash Kher) strongly made me recall Sukhwinder’s RABBA RABBA MEENH VARSA (definitely conceived by Sukhwinder without any doubts). That takes me to the fact that Sukhwinder was also the sole inspiration behind many of his tracks with Rahman, whether Rahman openly accepts it or not.
Frankly, I could not understand why Bulle Shah was dragged in this song featuring in the biopic of Amar Singh Chamkila. The track again made me feel as if it was a song used in a play, incorporating the references of many Sufi poets just for the sake of it. Rahman tries hard to sing Punjabi in this track and who can stop the captain of the ship from doing whatever he wishes for? That ironically is the biggest problem while working with an iconic figure.
Anyway, after four average to forgettable tracks, we come to the second decent track of the album titled MAINU VIDA KARO (Arijit Singh, Jonita Gandhi). And this title or the key phrase of the lyrics has another story of an undisclosed inspiration, not mentioned in the credits for some unknown reason. It is a sad song that probably will be used in the film towards its tragic end. A departure or parting song wherein the poet is saying “Let me go or bid me farewell and see me off. I have to go to the other end.”
A beautiful thought well written by Irshad Kamil and soulfully sung by Arijit (without whom the soundtrack of any biggie seems to be incomplete), it deserved a better and more melodious composition. The song adds to the list of famous Hindi film songs that had their first lines taken from the legendary poets, with no mention in the credits as a tribute. “Mainu Vida Karo” is a similar creation as this emotionally moving title is a borrowed one, taken from one of the most famous poems of Punjab’s legend SHIV KUMAR BATALVI.
Shiv’s “Mainu Vida Karo” is one of his most expressive poems (known as his swan song), which makes you feel his sadness, sorrow, and pain living in this cruel, materialistic world as a complete misfit. AMAR SINGH CHAMKILA’s version also makes a similar attempt subtly but I truly wish it had a better melody.
Imtiaz Ali has earlier also used Shiv’s poetry in his film, but strangely I couldn’t find any reference as a tribute in the credits/description of the original uploads on YouTube. Unfortunately (and it is a pity) we don’t have any physical form of music being released in the present digital era missing that personal touch and feel of owning our favourite music.
Anyway, for some unknown reason, neither Imtiaz nor Irshad mentions Shiv Kumar Batalvi as their inspiration for this song, unlike their earlier works.
Overall, “Ishq Mitave” is the only take-home song from this Rahman album, which yet again made me miss the magic of good old Rahman and H. Sridhar of the 1990s.  
Coming back to the confusion of such an urban soundtrack in a bio-pic based on the life of an iconic singer of Punjab of the 80s, the album makes you wonder, which Chamkila these songs represent and talk about? That too without the voice of Diljit, who is unarguably the most popular Punjabi singer all over the globe at this moment.
As stated before, a big production house cannot make probably the first bio-pic on a Punjabi singer featuring Diljit without any Punjabi song, not utilizing him as a singer. That is both creatively and commercially not viable. In case these six are the only songs in the film then that will be a huge disappointment not justifying the bio-pic either.
But that does not seem to be the scenario, as the film also has its association with the music company SAREGAMA (earlier HMV) for a reason, who have all the rights to Chamkila’s officially released music albums.
So, there seems to be a first of its kind, innvotive strategy being followed here in terms of music with a new-age soundtrack by A. R. Rahman offered before the release of the film and then a different soundtrack to be unveiled post the release (or just before) featuring the original songs of Chamkila maintaining the look, feel and euphoria of the era, sung by both Diljit and Parineeti. That also appears to be the case as both Diljit and Parneeti have sung in the film and Parineeti has repeatedly mentioned it in her interviews.
Further, the followed strategy must have been adapted keeping two noteworthy things in mind.
ONE – With only typical old-school kind of original Chamkila songs (sung with minimal instruments), it would have been very difficult to impress and win over the new millennium viewers missing that urban connection. So, to reach out to the younger generation they had to use the brand of A. R. Rahman and his sound creating a pre-release buzz for the film.
The regional feel of the project might also be the reason why it is having a direct Netflix release as this will certainly make it reach many more viewers all over the world, compared to the conventional theatrical release sold with insanely high-ticket prices.
SECOND – The strategy also seems to be devised to avoid a pre-release controversy for the film arising out of the lyrics of a few of Chamkila’s popular songs.
This point also has a funny observation related to the song performance of Diljit and Parineeti in the recent trailer/song release event, widely covered by the media.
The funny thing is that at the event, Diljit and Parineeti confidently sang one of the most controversial double-meaning songs of Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot Kaur, and none in the audience commented upon the so crudely vulgar lyrics. Perhaps neither anyone in the audience knew the language nor someone tried to decode the lyrics, otherwise this would have resulted in several funny videos and write-ups commenting upon the vulgarity of the song’s double meaning words. 
To give you the gist, they sang a duet at the event in which the girl says,
 “Mainu Chatt Lai (Lick me),
 Mainu Chatt Lai (Lick me),
 Mainu Chatt Lai Tali De Utte Dhar Ke (Lick me keeping me on your palm),
 Ve Mittra Main Khand Ban Gayi (My friend, I have become sugar for you)”
The words have enough material to make a short roast video but I couldn’t find any made by the young over-enthusiastic YouTubers instantly jumping on to anything they can make a quick video on. The language barrier is also the reason you are not finding any debate on, 'Why a biopic on Chamkila?' in the social media.
Overall, this pre-release soundtrack of AMAR SINGH CHAMKILA has only one winning track for me as “Ishq Mitave” and I would be waiting for more authentic songs that should be coming sooner or later. Hopefully the film directed by Imtiaz will have something exceptional in terms of content and treatment, moving ahead of this underwhelming score by Rahman and a similar film JODI based on the icon released in 2023.

As another first in the history of Indian cinema, JODI also featured Diljit playing the same role of the same iconic singer just an year back.
Bobby Sing 3rd March 2024 (All Rights Reserved)
NEXT in the series, coming soon is – WHY a bio-pic on CHAMKILA?
Sharing an EXCERPT that might be an eye-opener for many indicatively.
"In the blindly followed trend of bio-pics prevalent in Hindi cinema since last decade, we often create Legends with great potential for a screen adaptation as a subject.
Otherwise, there are 10s of Legends in Punjabi music on whom bio-pics can be made, waiting to be explored, names many millennials would not have even heard of (like Chamkila, who suddenly is known to all after a Bollywood adaptation)
It is fine but if truth be told then another way of creating legends is killing them young. A brutal killing also creates legends blowing it out of proportion."
Rest in the detailed write-up coming next at BTC soon.


Tags : Amar Singh Chamkila 6 Track Music Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Chamkila Music Review By Bobby Sing
03 Apr 2024 / Comment ( 2 )

Great Review Bhaji.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot brother.
Love and Regards

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