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Amar Singh Chamkila Biography, Early Life, Age, Career

Amar Singh Chamkila was an Indian singer and composer who gave his unique identity to Punjabi music. His melodious voice and original inspired songs gave a glimpse of Punjabi culture. Chamkila left an indelible mark in Punjab with her spectacular performances and innovative music.

Chamkila’s name is always taken with respect and reverence in the Punjabi music world. His music was deeply connected to the rural cultural heritage of Punjab and a desi beat was heard in his voice. He was one of the most influential and popular live stage performers of Punjab.

Birth and early life

Birth and early life

Amar Singh Chamkila was born on July 21, 1960 in a Dalit Sikh family in Duggari village of Ludhiana district of Punjab. His real name was Dhanni Ram. Since childhood, he had a passion for music and learned to play harmonium and dholak. However, his family did not understand his passion for music and expected him to become an electrician. But Chamkila’s heart was in music only.

As a child, Chamkila worked in a textile mill in Ludhiana, where she found an opportunity to identify and develop her talent. He realized that his real identity lay in music and he should dedicate his life to it.

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Entry and emergence in music

Entry and emergence in music

In 1979, Chamkila met Surinder Shinda. Shinda was a famous Punjabi folk singer and Chamkila was very happy to get the chance to work with him. Shinda recognized his talent and gave him a chance to work with him. Chamkila wrote many songs with Shinda and performed with her.

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In 1980, Chamkila released her first album “Takue Te Takua” in collaboration with Surinder Sonia. The songs written by him in this album created a stir in Punjab. The songs featured his artistic and clever writing style, inspired by Punjabi rural life and culture. People immediately accepted these songs and Chamkila emerged as a successful singer.

Chamkila also worked with many other female singers during her career, but her most famous duet was with Surinder Sonia. Both of them had a very good rapport and their songs created a stir in Punjab.

Controversial writing and reputation

Some topics were written openly in Chamkila’s songs, like girlfriend-boyfriend relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, etc. There were some words and descriptions in his songs that some people might find offensive. But despite this, his amazing voice and music made him very iconic in Punjab.

Chamkila’s shows attracted huge crowds and he was more popular than his contemporaries. According to an estimate, at the peak of his popularity he performed 366 performances in a year. His fame was not limited to Punjab, but he was also very popular among Punjabis living abroad.

Chamkila’s talent and performing skills made her an unforgettable name in the Punjabi music industry. His composition, singing and writing talent established him as an extraordinary artist.

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Tragic Ending

On March 8, 1988, Chamkila and his wife Amarjot were killed in a shootout by a suspected terrorist gang. Two other members of his band were also killed along with him. This murder is still unsolved and there are many speculations on the reasons behind it.

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Some people believe that the murder was carried out by Sikh separatist groups, as Chamkila’s songs included some topics that they did not like. However, Chamkila’s close friend and lyricist Swarna CVI has rejected this opinion. He said Chamkila had apologized to the separatist groups and promised to change the themes of her songs. After this he also sang some immortal songs based on Sikh history.

Swarn CVI believes that there could be some other reasons behind Chamkila’s murder, but he has not been able to completely solve it yet. He says that he has been searching for the reasons behind this murder all his life.

Legacy and personality

Chamkila is also known as the “Elvis of Punjab”. His lyrics and music have had a wide impact and he is considered a great artist in the Punjabi music world. Many films, dramas and documentaries have been made on his biography, of which the recently released film “Amar Singh Chamkila” aired on Netflix in 2024. Diljit Dosanjh has played the role of Chamkila in this film.

Indian film composer Amit Trivedi has called Chamkila “a great artiste, the Elvis of Punjab”. At the same time, British-Indian musician Punjabi MC also considers Chamkila as one of his main musical inspirations.

Chamkila’s untimely death has established him as an unfortunate but great artist. His voice and songs left a deep impression on Punjabi culture, which is still alive in the hearts of his fans. He is an unforgettable legacy of Punjabi music, who presented the culture of Punjab to the world with his extraordinary talent and presentation skills.

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