Imtiaz Ali has reinvented himself with ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’: AR Rahman

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Once sages and wide-eyed disciples, AR Rahman and Imtiaz Ali have grown close over the years. It’s an easy, open friendship now, they assure us, as we set out to discuss their latest collaboration, amar singh bright, There are few possibilities in contemporary Hindi cinema as exciting as the Imtiaz-Rahman team-up. was his last pageant (2015), a much-loved romance with an enduring soundtrack, and before that Highway (2014) and worrying, iconic Rock Star (2011). As the mastermind behind a thrilling heist, Imtiaz assembles his old team for Flashy Apart from Rahman, lyricist Irshad Kamil and singer Mohit Chauhan have worked in the album.

This musical biopic set in the turbulent 80s stars Diljit Dosanjh in the role of legendary Punjabi folk singer Amar Singh Chamkila. Parineeti Chopra plays Chamkila’s wife and singing partner Amarjot. Known for his candid, playful songs that cast an ethereal spell on the masses, Chamkila was murdered along with Amarjot by unknown gunmen in Mehsampur, Punjab in 1988. Their deaths remain a mystery, although one theory suggests they were killed by the Sikhs. separatist

Here, Rahman and Imtiaz discuss their combustible partnership and finding their sound Flashy,

excerpts from an interview,

Rehman Saheb, you recently described Amar Singh Chamkila as a ‘very naughty picture’ of Imtiaz. can you describe?

arrival: The spirit of mischief or mischief is present in all of us. Without humor life would be dull. When Imtiaz approached me for this film, I told him that the songs of Chamkila already existed. What am I going to do? So I came up with the idea of ​​making it a Broadway musical, with people commenting on Chamkila’s life and music like they do on YouTube today. All gossip can become a song.

Imtiaz Ali: Irshad Kamil, who is from Punjab, has introduced me to naughty Punjabi songs over the years. Interestingly, most of them were women’s songs. For example, track Naram Kaalja It is taken from an old traditional Punjabi song, my soft calja tarpe (“My tender heart trembles”). I liked it because Chamkila also sang naughty and naughty songs, which showed why he was so popular among the ladies. Women, even more than men, have always enjoyed ribaldry in traditional music. This applies not only to Punjab but to many places in the world, especially wedding songs.

arrival, Rukmani Rukmani From Roza (1992) is another example.

Imtiaz: Yes, its lyrics are quite bold. What happened after marriage/who lost and who won (What happened after the marriage/who lost, who won?)

Team of 'Amar Singh Chamkila'

Team of ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’

What was the process of researching the tunes for Chamkila?

arrival: We invited musicians from Punjab to our studio in Mumbai. There were four male singers and 8-9 female singers. We kept dancing and having fun for a few days. I sampled many traditional instruments such as algo And this stomach, Chamkila’s music is in Punjabi and is quite esoteric. We knew we had to push the boundaries of musicality and sound for a film of this nature. But we have left the original songs of Chamkila untouched and pure.

For me Punjabi music is not just Bhangra. I have heard Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab qawwalis And old archival recordings of Punjabi and Sindhi songs. Eight or nine years ago someone played me the recording of Chamkila when they wanted to make a film on it. There is also Sunrise Radio in London, which has a lot of old Punjabi music. During my time in London I used to fast early in the morning and listen to Sunrise Radio. so’s album Flashy It is the culmination of all these influences.

You guys have also introduced this element of live recording.

Imtiaz: while we were shooting Rock StarWe played almost the entire song – My right, let’s say – and Ranbir Kapoor and the rest of the cast are performing in it. For the audience, the experience was as if they were watching a concert. The difference was that the music was pre-recorded and the actors were imitating it. This time, there is a bigger bounce as we actually have Diljit and Parineeti singing their parts along with the musicians. This is a sync-sound approach to recording music. Of course, Rahman sir had already trained him to instill the necessary confidence.

Parineeti Chopra as Amarjot Kaur, Diljit Dosanjh as Amar Singh Chamkila

Parineeti Chopra as Amarjot Kaur, Diljit Dosanjh as Amar Singh Chamkila | Photo Credit: MUBEEN SIDDIQUI / Netflix

arrival: My music producer, Hiral Viradia and the rest of the team were present on the set during the entire process. The technology for making live recordings has improved greatly. There are proper training centers and all this new equipment that has arrived. Technicians and engineers are now more aware about this thing. Unlike before, where everything is distorted and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, we have to re-record this.’

I’ll have to go back to the Rockstar album for a while. I think there’s one song that’s criminally under-discussed. It’s Or Be, is an intense rock song that unfolds when Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) is in Prague and stalking his old love, who is now married.

Imtiaz: We used to call it ‘heartbeat’. Such was the vibe of the track. Rahman Sir might have named it ‘Dil Ki Dhadkan’ which became the visual inspiration for the song at that time.

arrival: I remember I had a flute that was going very deep, almost like a chant.

Imtiaz:It was a terrible ordeal emotionally in the same way that it was an overwhelming experience to be in that song. The connection we had during the shooting… I feel that I have overexposed myself to this song and this song. This is a song I can’t listen to anymore. Actually, I was sampling some old songs recently and I pressed ‘And Ho’ and the intro came up. I just had to turn it off immediately.

How do you guys communicate when making music? Is it very technical or more philosophical and abstract?

Imtiaz: Rahman Sir uses very informal, simple language. Great communication takes place through tunes. When good music is playing, everything becomes clear. Music is something that cannot be explained in words or symbols. If he uses words, I can understand something else entirely.

arrival:If we’re having a jam session and I have an idea, I just tell him and he responds. I don’t have to tell him I’m going to use a D flat ninth or a sharp 13th (laughs). He has an amazing ability to recognize the tunes associated with the film. Personally, I don’t like to be tied to the theme of a film. I like to see how my directors react, be it Mr. Mani Ratnam or Imtiaz. Mani Ratnam sometimes comes to me after two months and says, “Hey, you haven’t played anything? “Can I hear it again?” When I point out that he didn’t answer it the first time, he’ll say, “No, I didn’t understand it then.”

Imtiaz, Chamkila is being hailed as your comeback after two commercially minded duos (Jab Harry Met Sejal, Love Aaj Kal). Is this a return to your roots as a filmmaker?

Imtiaz: Okay, we’ll see (laughing). Making this film was a refreshing experience for me. For the first time, I was writing not from imagination but from research. Instead of dreaming up a scene, the fun for me was discovering it through conversations I had with people. The turmoil in Punjab in the 1980s had a devastating impact on Chamkila’s life. For me as a filmmaker, it’s one thing to not have an opinion or comment on it but not to know it is unforgivable. I talked to a lot of people about 1984 and the different controversies and aspects of that chapter of history.

A scene from 'Amar Singh Chamkila'

A scene from ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ Photo Credit: Mubeen Siddiqui/Netflix

arrival: I think Imtiaz has reinvented himself. As an artist, if one does the same thing over and over again, one will have more trouble trying something new. But if you change its entire location and take your artistry and energy elsewhere, it forces you to think differently. Then many unusual things come together and it becomes refreshing for the audience. The moment they start making predictions about you, you become boring.

Chamkila’s story makes one wonder… Is music untouched by the time and place in which it originates?

arrival:Music can build society, it can also destroy society. It’s just the energy that music creates. Take the 1960s for example and what the Beatles did suppose, In my life, the first ten years of my career, I had one song Mother, I salute you, which created a sense of pride about being an Indian. Then in 2001 the 9/11 attacks happened and the entire decade was spent trying to fix the world. 2010–20, after Oscar win Jai ho, it was a different era. It was a time of individual excellence, when Indians were becoming great CEOs and global leaders. And now, finally, we are in the age of AI. My point is, how can we use AI to overcome the failures of previous generations? Can it be used for poverty alleviation? Even in music, AI can be an influence for good.

Is there any aspect of life other than music that you guys connect with best?

Imtiaz:Except finances, we bond over everything else, including food and parenting.

arrival:We’re actually working together on a project. It’s like a chain… something that’s very special and hard to surpass. We’re still trying to figure it out. Unfortunately, we can’t share anything about it yet.

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