Amar Singh Chamkila (July 21, 1961 – March 8, 1988) was a high-profile Punjabi singer, songwriter, and musician. He has widely touted as the most influential icon in the history of Punjabi music.
Who is Amar Singh Chamkila?
Amar Singh Chamkila was born Dunni Ram on July 21, 1961, in the village of Dugri near Ludhiana, Punjab, India. The youngest child of Kartar Kaur and Hari Singh, he was educated at Gujar Khan Primary School in Dugri. His aspirations of becoming an electrician were unfulfilled and he found work at a Ludhiana cloth mill. Surinder Shinda has said that in 1979, he saw Chamkila for the first time and he was on an old cycle with chapatti in a tea towel. Shinda says that later on he heard his sing in his raw talent and had finally found the protege that he had been looking for.
With a natural aptitude for music, he learned to play the harmonium and dholki and won himself the opportunity to play alongside Punjabi folk artists such as K. Deep, Mohammad Saddiq, and Surinder Shinda. He wrote several songs for Shinda and accompanied him as a member of his entourage before deciding to pursue a solo career. It is rumored that Chamkila was happy enough writing songs, but he wasn’t earning enough money to look after his family, so had to start singing.
She was married and subsequently divorced. He had two daughters.
Amar Singh Chamkila Biography
|Birth Name||Amarjot Singh|
|Real Name||Dhani Ram|
|Other Names||Amar Singh Chamkila, Amar Chamkila, Elvis of Punjab|
|Title Name||Elvis of Punjab|
|Profession||Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Music Composer, Stage Performer|
|Famous For||Singing the song ‘Pehle Lalkare Naal’|
|Date of Birth||21 July 1960|
|Birthplace||Village Dugri, Ludhiana, Punjab, India|
|Date of Death||8 March 1988|
|Place of Death||Village Mehsampur, Jalandhar, Punjab, India|
|Age (at the time of death)||27 Years|
|Death Cause||Murder (Shot Dead)|
|Zodiac Sign/Sun Sign||Cancer|
|Hometown||Village Dugri, Ludhiana, Punjab, India|
|Relationships & More|
|Affairs/Girlfriends||Amarjot (Singer, died along with Amar Singh Chamkila in 1988)|
|Marriage Date||23 May 1983 (with Amarjot)|
|Wife/Spouse||1. Gurmail Kaur (Ex-Wife)|
2. Amarjot (Second Wife)
1. Name Not Known (With Gurmail Kaur- Died)
2. Jaiman Chamkila (With Amarjot Kaur- Singer)
Daughters- 2 (Both with Gurmail Kaur)
1. Amandeep Kaur (Elder)
2. Kamandeep aka Kamal Chamkila (Younger- Singer)
|Parents||Father- Hari Ram Singh (Died)|
Mother- Kartar Kaur (Died)
|Siblings||Brothers- 2 (Elder)|
1. Swaran Kaur
2. Charandeep Kaur
3. Name Not Known (Died)
|Education & Qualification|
|School||Gujar Khan Primary School, Dugri, Ludhiana, Punjab|
|Educational Qualification||8th Standard|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height||in centimeters- 175 cm|
in meters- 1.75 m
in feet inches- 5’9″
|Weight (approx)||in kilograms- 65 kg|
in pounds- 143 Ibs
|Debut||Singing: Takue Te Takua|
Amar Singh Chamkila Wife’s Name
He was married to Gurmail Kaur and had two daughters, Amandeep Kaur, and Kamaldeep Kaur. Kamal has gone on to follow in her father’s footsteps by becoming a singer. She has released albums of her own, some of which contain unsung but written lyrics by her father. Their house is on the outskirts of Ludhiana. Email me if you want the address.
Rise to Fame
Adopting the name Amar Singh Chamkila – Chamkila in Punjabi means one that flitters- he partnered up with the female vocalist Surinder Sonia and recorded eight duets. The record was released in 1979 and was produced by Charanjit Ahuja. The cleverly worded songs, which he had written he had written himself, became hits across Punjab and paved the way for the unique lyrical master his fans would come to expect.
In 1980, Chamkila left Sonia and established a short-lived stage relationship with Miss Usha. He left Miss Usha in the same year in favor of teaming up with a female folk singer named Amarjot. She would become Chamkila’s permanent singing partner providing the female vocals for his duets, that is, the majority of the songs that he wrote.
Chamkila wrote his own lyrics, the majority of which were boyish, suggestive, and titillating, and yet fluent, commentaries on extra-marital affairs, alcohol, and drugs. The couple’s appeal grew not only in the Punja, but they quickly raced to international stardom among Punjabis abroad. By the early 1980s, Chamkila and Amarjot had recorded hugely successful LPs on the HMV level and they toured Canada, the USA, Dubai, and Bahrain. They were also commonly booked for wedding parties, charging a reported Rs. 4000 per performance, an unprecedented amount for the time.
Much of Chamkila’s success may be attributed to the fan base he acquired performing in free, open-air concerts (known as akhade in Punjabi) around Punjab. Accompanying the couple would be a harmonium and dholki player and Chamkila would play the tumbi, an instrument that he had mastered. The concerts served as a medium for gaining exposure and testing people’s responses to new songs that were planned for future recordings. In addition to singing his own songs, Chamkila wrote several songs and sold them to other artists. Some of his songs include ‘Main Digie Tilak Ke (Surinder Shinda), ‘Nit Banke Patola Aundi-E (Shinda ), and ‘Munda Pat Da (Deedar Sandhu).
Starting in 1985. Chamkila and Amarjot released three religious LPs: Baba Tera Nankana, Talwar Main Kalgidhar Di Haan, and Naam Jap Le. While the LPs were highly successful, none of the songs featured on them were written by Chamkila. The profits made from these LPs were reportedly donated to charities. His religious album were huge hits and allowed him to be able to sing at religious functions and in front of women.
Chamkila’s song Pehle Lalkare Naal was featured in the soundtrack of the 1987 Punjabi film Patola. He also recorded the song ‘Mera Jee Karda’ for the Punjabi film ‘Dupatta’. Both films faired average at the box office but still increased Chamkila’s popularity. He also recorded a music video for one of his songs for the state-owned ‘Doordarshan’ channel, but after his death, his video was taken off the air.
Chamkila and Amarjot recorded in excess of ninety songs before they were killed in Mesumpur, Panjab in 1988. At the time of his death, he reportedly had 200 songs that had not been sung or recorded. Of these, some were sung on stage shows including ‘Dhee Mar Jai Badkar Loko’, ‘Jatt Di Dushmani’, and Tere Hik Te Amli’. He also had many solo songs which have been sung in recent times by artists such as Chamak Chamkila, Amar Arshi, and his teacher Surinder Shinda and songs have been featured on Panjabi By Nature’s album called ‘Ranjaha’.
The appeal of Chamkila’s music prominently lay in both the content of his lyrics and the delivery of those lyrics. The majority of Chamkila’s songs were about extra-marital or other taboo relationships. Chamkila came under frequent criticism citing his works as offensive.
Chamkila had introduced the paradigm of modern-day relationships into Punjabi folk music which had until then, restricted itself to singing about legendary heroes, warriors, and lovers from Punjabi folk tales. His energetic singing style and the provocative nature of his lyrics are often considered to be the reason for his colossal success.
Amar Singh Chamkila Death
Having arrived to perform in the famous village of Mehsampur, Punjab, both Chamkila and Amarjot were gunned down by AK47s alongside Gill and other group members as they exited their vehicle on March 8, 1988, at approximately 2 o’clock. A gang of unknown youths shot several rounds fatally wounding the couple and other members of the entourage. The driver got away and ran for his life and saw the police coming towards him in a jeep, Chamkila’s driver told the police commissioner what had happened as they got near the community well in Mesopore where Chamkila was supposed to perform the disguised youths fled and the people of the village who had come to attend the akhara bravely chased them, but they got away, the gunfire could be heard in the neighboring village of Darapuralso. Chamkila was lying in the haystack near the well with shots fired at his chest.
- Due to the public’s declining interest in other Punjabi singers in favor of Chamkila, one or more of these artists may have planned his killing.
- The Sikh separatism and Khalistani movement of the 1980s may have found Chamkila’s lyrical content objectionable. The movement may have killed him.
- Amarjot’s caste Jatt was commonly considered higher than Chamkila’s caste Chamar. Disgraced by Amarjot’s involvement with Chamkila, her family or others may have arranged for the couple’s killing.
- Chamkila may have been murdered by an individual he rejected to perform for due to a scheduling conflict or otherwise.
- Chamkila may have also been killed by rival singers who were jealous of his success.
Chamkila’s recordings on the HMV music label have been recompiled for release on CD by Saregama. The following albums are available. Hik Utte So Ja Ve Jija Lak Minle Lak Mera Kach Warga Mitra Main Khand Ban Gai Sharbut Vangoo Ghut Bhar Lan Bhul Gai Main Ghund Kadna Baba Tera Nankan (religious) Naam Jap Le (religious) Talwar Main Kalgidhar Di Haan (religious).
During the 1980s, Chamkila had become a very popular singer. However, most of his sons are still considered controversial; because of their vulgar lyrics, which he used to sing along with his female co-singer Amarjot. He had even received various threat calls from militants who wanted him to stop singing; however, he did not stop singing even after these threats.
Some Lesser Known Facts About Amar Singh Chamkila
- Amar Singh Chamkila was a renowned Punjabi Singer who is considered one of the best Punjabi stage performers, and he still has a huge fan following in Punjab.
- He was born and raised in a conservative joint family.
- Chamkila has been interested in singing and playing musical instruments like Dhol, Tumbi, etc., since his childhood.
- He was brilliant in his studies but left his schooling midway to earn money to look after his family.
- After quitting his school studies, Chamkila started working at a cloth mill in Ludhiana.
- Initially, he wanted to become an electrician but destiny took him into the Punjabi Music Industry.
- he was first noticed by the renowned Punjabi singer Surinder Shinda in 1979, when Chamkila was riding on a bicycle with one of his friends Kuldeep Paras, thereafter, he started accompanying Shinda as a member of his troupe.
- Chamkila had penned down many songs for popular Panjabi singers like Surinder Shinda (Main Digie Tilak Ke), Jagmohan Kaur (Gabroo Nu Marda), KS Kooner (Deor Naal Nach Bhabiye), etc.
- Reportedly, as a lyricist, he was unable to fulfill the needs of his family, so, he decided to pursue his career as a solo singer so that he would earn sufficient money.
- Chamkila recorded many solo and duet songs, which became popular among the Punjabi Community worldwide.
- Subsequently, he also used to share stages and perform live concerts along with some renowned Punjabi singers like K. Deep, Muhammad Sadiq, Surinder Shinda, etc.
- Before starting his singing career with his co-partner-cum-wife Amarjot, Chamkila had also performed with other female singers like Surinder Sonia, Usha Kiran, and others.
- According to Gulzar Singh Shaunki’s biography- ‘Awaz Mardi Nahin’,-Gulzar found in his research that at the height of his popularity, Chamkila performed 366 shows in 365 days.
- According to sources, he used to charge Rs 4000+ per performance at wedding parties and functions.
- Chamkila is best remembered for his super hit track ‘Pehle Lalkare Naal’. After his death, the original song was also featured in the Punjabi film ‘Patola’ (1988). The song is so popular that many of his reprised versions have been used in various other Punjabi films.
When did Amarjot and Chamkila get married?
23 May 1983 (with Amarjot).
Amarjot Kaur Chamkila Cast?
What is the religion of Amar Singh Chamkila?
Not known (Update soon)
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