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Imtiaz Ali on Amar Singh Chamkila being accused of vulgarity, “He knew how to present bold lyrics in the most palatable, interesting and funny way possible”

en Bollywood News Imtiaz Ali on Amar Singh Chamkila being accused of vulgarity, “He knew how to present bold lyrics in the most palatable, interesting and funny way possible”

Were Amar Singh Chamkila’s songs really vulgar or were they merely, wink wink, just naughty? Imtiaz Ali whose biopic on Chamkila is trending on Netflix said, “The question of censorship has always been interesting to me. I, as a filmmaker, would be happy in a world where there is no censorship, where  people have a choice to decide what they want. The question of whether someone needs to take a moral high ground to decide what someone should hear or not hear is a bit discriminatory to me. But it remains a very interesting question. I think Chamkila suffered due to this all his life.”

Imtiaz Ali on Amar Singh Chamkila being accused of vulgarity, “He knew how to present bold lyrics in the most palatable, interesting and funny way possible”

Imtiaz Ali on Amar Singh Chamkila being accused of vulgarity, “He knew how to present bold lyrics in the most palatable, interesting and funny way possible”

Imtiaz revealed that Chamkila was popular among the women. “One of our line producers Mr Darshan Aulakh told me he was the Bhangra captain in his university days back in the 1980s and 90s. Those were tough times in Punjab. The girls’ hostel area in Punjab university was out of bounds for boys. But he being a Bhangra captain was allowed to go into the girls’ area of the hospital and practise Bhangra with the girls and the boys. He said he was startled to hear only Chamkila playing in each of the girls’ rooms in the hostel, and when he told me this during one of trips to Punjab, I was taken aback,” he said.

Imtiaz also had a first-hand experience of Chamkila’s popularity. “During one of my various trips to Punjab I got to hear of incidents where Chamkila’s songs were played at the insistence of local girls. Another friend Varuna Rana from Punjab told me how she, as a young smalltown girl in Punjab, knew her brother kept Chamkila cassettes locked in his scooter. In the afternoon she would take the key of the scooter, sneak out the tapes and listen to Chamkila with her friends,” he said.

These incidents, revealed Imtiaz, are incorporated in the film. “All of them are real,” said the filmmaker. “And that led me to think about old Punjabi folk songs that women sing at weddings and other celebrations in Punjab, Bihar and all of North India. And South India, as Rahman Sir told me. So, I think women found traction in the way Chamkila wrote and sang.”

Imtiaz leans into why Chamkila was so popular in spite of being accused of vulgarity in his songs. “Sound recordist Charanjit Ahuja told me that Chamkila ke haath mein kalaa hai. He knew how to present bold lyrics in the most palatable, interesting (and) funny way possible. This made him popular. Other Punjabi singers of Chamkila’s era also sang vulgar lyrics. But why were the not equally popular? Chamkila knew how to communicate with his audience. The other thing that I found very interesting about Chamkila’s lyrics is that he doesn’t assume the role of male superiority. All his lyrics have men and women playacting playing different roles. Sometimes they play father-daughter, sometimes they play jija-saali.”

He added, “But more often than not, the woman is also an aggressor in Chamkila’s songs, and the man finds himself vulnerable in the lyrics. So it’s not as if the women were dominated in Chamkila’s songs. There is  a certain sense of liberation in the way he sang. I think women enjoyed his songs.”

Also Read: Imtiaz Ali reveals Diljit Dosanjh wore a wig for Amar Singh Chamkila: says “The wig is like his…”

More Pages: Amar Singh Chamkila Box Office Collection , Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review


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