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Had to unlearn a few things as musician: Diljit Dosanjh on playing Chamkila


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The best thing about acting is that one can start from zero, says singer-star Diljit Dosanjh who had to “unlearn” certain things to play the character of slain Punjabi musician Amar Singh Chamkila in the upcoming Imtiaz Ali film.

Dosanjh, who is a popular name in not just Punjabi and Hindi cinema but also a globally recognised musician, said he mostly relied on Ali’s “clear vision” to create Chamkila on the screen.

Chamkila, a grassroots singer who ruled street concerts in the ’80s Punjab, was shot dead along with his singer-wife Amarjot in 1988.

“I had to unlearn things and start from zero. It’s a plus point in the life of an artist to do this. It’s tough to start from zero because you often get lost in your own personality and you feel this is who you are (but) the best thing about an actor’s job is that you get the opportunity to start from zero, and I look at this as an opportunity,” Dosanjh told PTI in an interview.

The 40-year-old actor said he relied completely on Ali to portray the nuances of Chamkila, regarded as one of the best live-stage performers to have come from Punjab.

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“I didn’t do much prep for the film, Imtiaz sir prepped a lot. He had a clear vision about the character of Chamkila. I knew Chamkila as an artist, but I had no idea about how he was as a person or how he would perform on stage. I got a lot of help from Imtiaz sir.”

Dosanjh believes the audience will get to know the late musician well through the movie.

“I personally believe everyone knows about Chamkila. However, if there are some people who don’t know about him, then it’s an interesting story to watch. It’s not just the story of an artist but the story of a person, his journey, and what all happened in the 1980s in Punjab.

“It is not a fictional story; it is true. I feel there’s something to learn from this film too. Those who don’t know about Chamkila will know about him and those who are fans of Chamkila will definitely watch the film.”

Amar Singh Chamkila is set to premiere on April 12 on Netflix. It is produced by Mohit Choudhary, Select Media Holdings LLP, Saregama, and Window Seat Films.


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