8 Movies Like Amar Singh Chamkila You Must See

With director Imtiaz Ali at the helm, ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ chronicles the poignant tale of the titular singer, who rose to prominence in a turbulent time in 1980s North India and faced societal backlash for the nature of his songs. Going from making socks in a mill to becoming the highest-selling artist in Punjab, Amar Singh is the man of the hour. His fans love him for his entertaining performances and provocative lyrics, while religious conservatives accuse him of tainting society and threaten him with violence.

The Netflix musical biopic engrosses us in the true story of Amar Singh Chamkila with vibrant recreations of the time, insightful social commentary, and a thrilling retelling of the singer’s tumultuous life. These are some great films similar to ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ that explore similar themes to the film.

8. The Disciple (2020)

Under the direction of Chaitanya Tamhane, ‘The Disciple’ introduces us to the world of Indian classical music, following the journey of Sharad Nerulkar, a devoted disciple striving for artistic excellence. Created with a meticulous eye for detail, the film focuses on Sharad’s struggles with the complexities of tradition, lineage, and personal ambition in his pursuit of becoming a renowned vocalist. Faced with prolonged stagnation, Sharad combats an existential crisis, and his seemingly unwavering dedication is put to the test.

As Sharad grapples with the challenges of mastering his craft and achieving recognition, fans of ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ will be drawn into the
Marathi-language film’s soul-searching exploration of the meaning of success and fulfillment. Like in the former movie, Tamhane has paid special attention to creating authentic backdrops for the narrative to unfurl around, which in this case is a subdued Mumbai landscape.

7. Rocketman (2019)

Directed by Dexter Fletcher, ‘Rocketman’ is an electrifying biographical musical that chronicles the meteoric rise of music legend Elton John. The film introduces us to a young Elton John as Reginald Dwight, who is finding himself and his style, eventually leading to his transformation into a flamboyant and iconic performer. The film explores Elton’s personal struggles with identity, addiction, and acceptance. Much like ‘Amar Singh Chamkila,’ the film offers an intimate and poignant exploration of the highs and lows of an era-defining artist. Both films take us on emotional rollercoaster rides through their respective artists’ triumphs and tragedies.

6. Elvis (2022)

In the directorial hands of Baz Luhrmann, ‘Elvis’ transports us back in time to witness the electrifying rise of the King of Rock and Roll. We follow Elvis’s story from his humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi, to his groundbreaking performances that revolutionized the music industry. The film unravels Elvis’s personal struggles, relationships, and the cultural impact of his music on society. Amar Singh Chamkila was called the Elvis of Punjab, and fans of his biopic will likely be drawn to the icon whose raw energy and passion are brilliantly conveyed by Austin Butler. Both performers were trailblazers, and encountered a level of fame that none of their contemporaries had before them.

5. Rocketry: The Nambi Effect (2022)

‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ narrates the true story of Nambi Narayanan, an Indian rocket scientist who becomes pivotal to the country’s renowned space program but is accused of being a traitor. The narrative follows Nambi from his college days to working at NASA, where he turns down a lucrative offer in favor of joining ISRO and advancing India’s space program. Through his persuasion and a thrilling geopolitical game, he acquires the technology and equipment to make significant advances in cryogenic engines. However, he is arrested out of the blue, accused of selling secrets to Pakistan, and tortured by local police while his family is harassed by society.

Led and directed by Madhavan, the film strikes a similar chord with ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ in its theme of a national treasure being betrayed by the very society he has worked so hard for. Both biopics delve into the physical and mental violence levied against them, and how decades of work can be brought down by malice and ignorance.

4. Ray (2004)

Directed by Taylor Hackford, ‘Ray’ narrates the true life story of Ray Charles, the pioneering soul musician. From losing his sight at a young age and growing up in the segregated South to his meteoric rise to fame as a groundbreaking musician, the film weaves a complex tapestry of lighthearted storytelling mixed with poignant drama. Just as Amar Singh Chamkila faces backlash for the irreligious nature of his music, so too does Ray Charles as he combines blues, jazz, and gospel styles to create soul. Through compelling depictions of unimaginable struggles and grand triumphs, the film will enchant fans of the musical biopic genre.

3. Punjab 1984 (2014)

Directed by Anurag Singh, ‘Punjab 1984’ revolves around the tumultuous time in the Indian state of Punjab, which saw social unrest, corruption, and militancy, inevitably pulling innocents into the crossfire. The narrative unfolds through the lens of a mother and her son, Shivjeet Singh (Diljit Dosanjh). Shivjeet is falsely accused of being a part of the militant movement and tortured by a corrupt policeman who wants to steal his land for himself. Avoiding a near-death experience, Shivjeet joins the militant group, seething for vengeance.

However, he soon realizes that their side, which claims to fight for the people, is also rife with hypocrisy and immorality. Those who are curious about the social unrest that played a part in the assassination of ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ will find a masterful depiction of the time in ‘Punjab 1984.’ The film features stellar performances from its cast, including Diljit Dosanjh, and avoids politicization in favor of telling human stories of loss, opportunism, and revenge.

2. Walk the Line (2005)

Directed by James Mangold, ‘Walk the Line’ plunges us into the tumultuous life of country music icon Johnny Cash. The film delves deep into Cash’s personal struggles, including his battles with addiction, his complex relationship with June Carter, and the profound impact of his music on society. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a mesmerizing performance, capturing the essence of Cash’s charisma and raw talent with remarkable authenticity. With powerful musical performances and intimate storytelling, ‘Walk the Line’ is a hearty recommendation to fans of biographical musicals like ‘Amar Singh Chamkila.’ Both films offer a compelling portrayal of their icons, celebrating both their triumphs and humanity with honesty and reverence.

1. Jodi (2023)

‘Jodi’ is a Punjabi retelling of Amar Singh Chamkila’s story with a greater emphasis on romance and comedy. Amar Sitara, a poor man propelled to stardom, relishes success while contending with its dangers. Compared to ‘Amar Singh Chamkila,’ the film pulls off personal relationships quite well, with a heartwarming chemistry between its leads. The movie further explores the bonds between the lead singer and his crew of musicians as they garner attention and touch the heights of fame. Those who would like a lighthearted rendition of ‘Amar Singh Chamkila,’ complete with charming characters and authentic settings, owe it to themselves to watch ‘Jodi.’

Read More: Is Netflix’s Amar Singh Chamkila Based on a True Story?