Rising Indian musician and film star Diljit Dosanjh will play legendary Punjab singer Amar Singh Chamkila in a new biopic backed by Netflix. The streamer revealed the project Tuesday, along with a first teaser trailer (see it below), describing the film as film presenting “the untold true story of Punjab’s original rockstar of the masses.”
Amar Singh Chamkila, as the film is titled, is directed by Hindi hitmaker Imtiaz Ali, who reunites on the project with acclaimed musician and composer AR Rahman, who will handle the film’s score and soundtrack. The duo previously worked together to great success, as director and composer, on Bollywood hits like Rockstar (2011) and Highway (2014).
Diljit, whose international profile got a boost in April when he became the first Punjabi artist to perform at Coachella, will do some of his own singing in the title role. Parineeti Chopra plays the film’s female lead and will also perform some original music, according to Netflix.
“Amar Singh Chamkila is set to be a huge film for Netflix India and collaborating with the talent attached to this film has been truly rewarding,” said Ruchikaa Kapoor Sheikh, Netflix India’s director of original films, in a statement. “Our partnership with Imitiaz Ali on the provocative personality and story of Chamkila has been an exhilarating process. Netflix’s focus is to bring stories from across India to our local audiences and we’re confident that the magnetism of this story will also pique the interest of film-loving audiences around the world.”
The real-life Amar Singh Chamkila was born to poverty in 1960 and rose to become one of the most popular singers the northern Indian state of Punjab has ever produced. His frank depictions of village life in his lyrics — he often sang of extra-marital affairs, youthful angst and drug use — delighted his fans while angering more conservative factions. In 1988, at the height of his fame, he was gunned down and assassinated at the age of 27. His wife and two members of his band were also killed and the murders remain unsolved.
“The film follows the crazed popularity of Chamkila’s daring songs that society could neither ignore nor swallow,” said Ali. “Having Netflix as a partner, I am humbled to take our story to millions of viewers not only in India but around the globe.”
Added Diljit: “Playing Amar Singh Chamkila has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life.”
The script for Amar Singh Chamkila is co-written by Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali. The producers of the film for Netflix, which will launch the film worldwide on its service in 2024, include Mohit Choudhary, Select Media Holdings, Saregama and Reliance Entertainment.