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  • Writer's pictureShruti Jain

Six Cinematic Parallels Between Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’, ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Tamasha’

Imtiaz Ali's Cinematic Parallels
Imtiaz Ali's Cinematic Parallels

[Not a movie review | Imtiaz Ali Cinematic Parallels]

I watched Amar Singh Chamkila the day it released on Netflix, two days ago (12th April 2024), and haven't been able to stop thinking about the frames of the film, simultaneously comparing them with the previous masterpieces from Imtiaz Alis cinematic universe. And for that very reason, I am compelled to divert from the subject of my blog, i.e., books, to talk about this beautiful text in the form of Imtiaz Alis storytelling.

For the most part, ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ is a quintessential Imtiaz Ali film—reminiscent of the aesthetics of ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Tamasha’, with familiar dialogue delivery styles (albeit with different actors) and musical theme, thanks to the legend, A.R. Rahman. As a storyteller, Imtiaz Ali’s signature is unmistakable in the film, even though, as compared to the other two, ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ is based on a real-life story.

Here are a few cinematic parallels that I spotted:

1. Hunger: In an Imtiaz Ali film, the protagonist is always hungry to find himself. This becomes visible through the intensity of his gaze when he expresses that hunger while confiding in someone he believes can aid him in his journey. Chamkila, for instance, is hungry for future recognition. Jordan’s hunger manifests in his desire to create music that resonates with his soul. And Ved is hungry to find his story until he realizes he has to script his own.

Amar Singh Chamkila, Rockstar, Tamasha

2. Transformation: In an Imtiaz Ali story, there is this magical moment in the protagonist’s life when something transformative stirs within them. Suddenly, the hustle and bustle of the background blur out, and the camera zooms in on the actor on screen, capturing that internal shift. It’s like they are in their bubble, even amidst a crowd.

Amar Singh Chamkila, Rockstar, Tamasha

3. Childhood: Exploring a protagonist’s childhood, to showcase his present-day, adult behaviour, is a trope that holds immense significance in storytelling, and no one does it better than Imtiaz Ali. Take, for example, the way he brings to light Chamkila’s childhood experiences in the film, comparing them with his present, much like he did with Ved in ‘Tamasha’. While Jordan’s childhood remains largely unexplored in ‘Rockstar’, his innocence is visible during his college years.

Amar Singh Chamkila, Rockstar, Tamasha

4. Family: Imtiaz Ali’s protagonists often hide from their families, until they can fully reveal their true talents. Observe how Chamkila enters home, keeping his head low, wanting to quickly slip away to his room to evade any potential questions from family members. We find a parallel between Ved’s attempt to hide from his father and Jordan’s avoidance of his brothers, both driven by fear and a desire to remain unnoticed.

‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ is a quintessential Imtiaz Ali film—reminiscent of ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Tamasha’. Did you spot these cinematic parallels?

5. Climax: The climax scene, where all of Imtiaz Ali’s protagonists discover the artist within themselves and confidently take the center stage. It is a powerful moment captured on camera, as we see them facing the audience, fully embracing and owning that moment.

‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ is a quintessential Imtiaz Ali film—reminiscent of ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Tamasha’. Did you spot these cinematic parallels?

6. Music: Music is one of the most important characters in Imtiaz Ali’s storytelling. And AR Rahman delivers his best. Each of these movies has a particularly crafted theme song that tells a complete story in itself. Case in point: ‘Baaja’ in ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’, Hawa Hawa’ in ‘Rockstar’, and Chali Kahani’ in ‘Tamasha’.

P.S. Am I the only one who thought Parineeti Chopra was going to start singing ‘Pareshaan’, every time she was at the mic? xD

What other parallels did you spot?


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