Jatinder Jinda: Is He Based on Chamkila’s Real Mentor?

As a biographical drama living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s Imtiaz Ali-directed ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ can only be described as equal parts intriguing and haunting. That’s because it candidly revisits the tale of a man whose art was entertaining, festive, provocative, as well as well-loved before somehow turning into the cause of his assassination at 27. Thus came the public allegations of either militants or his rivals possibly being the matter, only for his once-mentor tuned friend singer Jatinder Jinda to be among the primary suspects.

Jatinder Jinda is Modelled After Surinder Shinda

It was back in 1979 when 18-year-old Dhanni Ram, aka Amar Singh, approached already established Punjabi folk singer Surinder Shinda on his bicycle to prove he too was a musician. Little did he know that once the latter heard him sing, he’d not only take him under his wings as a protege but also include him in his entourage as a band member plus collaborator. The truth is he’s the reason Chamkila’s words managed to reach a wider audience since he was the first to actually record his original written pieces, resulting in them both garnering much attention.

However, everything turned upside down when Surinder decided to go on tour to Canada alone – much like Jatinder in the film – pushing Amar (aka Chamkila) to decide it was high time for him to go solo. Therefore, while the former continued performing across the globe, his mentee started making a name for himself by singing about fantasies and things people often think but don’t say. Coming to his reaction towards the youngster’s gradual success, it’s believed that he was more than happy to see a fellow Punjabi do so well, even if he did notice that his local show numbers were going down.

It also feels imperative to note that Surinder not only guided Chamkila but also had a significant role in helping individuals such as Gill Hardeep and Maninder Shinda with their initial music careers. Moreover, in his later years, he even started an orchestra company before going on to serve as a producer for rising artists, making it clear his focus was always on building others up, not tearing them down. It thus comes as no surprise harmonium player Mauji Dugriwala asserted to Brit Asia Live TV in 2023 that there is no way he could’ve been behind the assassination on March 8, 1988.

Mauji actually specified that the relationship Surinder had with Chamkila was more like father-son, meaning even if they had their slight differences, “no father would ever kill his own son.” In other words, this legendary “Grandfather of MOC (Music on Console)” in the world of Punjabis ostensibly had a clean conscience at every step of the way in life, enabling him to do wonders.

This family man actually released close to 165 albums (debuting in 1959), which included some of his biggest hit singles like “Jatt Jeona Morh,” “Putt Jattan De,” “Truck Billiya,” and “Kaher Singh Di Mout.” These are what helped him secure millions in sales plus a couple of Lifetime Achievement awards before he sadly passed away from multiple organ failure at the age of 70 on July 26, 2023.

Read More: Swaran Singh Sivia: Who Was Amar Singh Chamkila’s Friend? How Did He Die?