Chamak Review: Music, Murder & Male Swagger

Chamak is an interesting blueprint – a musical thriller. Between Jugraj and co-writer S Fakira, the non-linear screenplay alternates between Kaala trying to break into the robust music industry and attempting to unravel his own past.

General Rating

In a nut-shell:

Music, Murder & Male Swagger

Chamak Star Cast/ Actors: Paramvir Singh Cheema as Kaala , Isha Talwar as Jazz, Manoj Pahwa, Gippy Grewal, Mohit Malik, Navneet Nishan and Mukesh Chhabra

Chamak Director: Rohit Jugraj

Chamak Release Date: December 7, 2023

Chamak Available On: Sony LIV

Chamak Released/ Available In Languages: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada

Chamak OTT Platform: Sony LIV

Chamak Season: 1

Chamak Number Of Episodes: 6

Chamak Release Pattern: All episodes released together

Chamak Episode Duration: 50 minutes

Chamak Critic Review:

The kick-off in 1999, Punjab, carries a whiff of the recent Moose Wala killing in the state. Director and music curator Rohit Jugraj takes off with the assassination of popular singer Tara Singh (Canada-based Gippy Grewal in a special appearance) while he’s on stage with his wife.

When it cuts to 2023 in Vancouver, the flavourseems like Sandeep Vanga’s Animal has shifted operations to Canada, where Kaala (Paramvir Singh Cheema) is wild and violent, with anger issues against half the world including his father.

1999 and 2023: Kaala fleeing from Canada to land in Chandigarh in a reverse Dunki, and the killing of Tara Singh, get intertwined. Why was Tara Singh murdered? Terror? Honour Killing? Or business rivalry?

It’s an interesting blueprint – a musical thriller. Between Jugraj and co-writer S Fakira, the non-linear screenplay alternates between Kaala trying to break into the robust music industry and attempting to unravel his own past through the Tara Singh case. An unknown bond with Tara gives meaning to Kaala’s resolve.  

Guest appearances and musical face-offs keep the taal beating fast. Wearing a Moose Wala tee, Kaala does a ‘Matwari’ outside a club with MC Square. Mika Singh turns up for a recording. And there is a music label that somewhat resembles a famous music and film production company in Mumbai. But there’s more than a hint that Teeja Sur, the top music company owned by Pratap Deol (Manoj Pahwa) and his grown-up children, has a murky past. The Deols are a dysfunctional family too, and since no show can be complete without a gay angle, son Guru (Mohit Malik) is the ‘fairy’ that Pratap Deol tramples all over for his ‘sissiness’. Jugraj goes overboard with Guru even groveling and sniveling before his boyfriend, in public.

Kaala, on the other hand, gets two women to fall in love with him, playing with the feelings of drummer Jazz Narula (Isha Talwar) and Lata Brar (Akasa Singh), the daughter of respected but reclusive singer Jugal Brar (Suvinder Vicky). Like the must-have homosexuality track, in such male kitsch, Jugraj attempts effete gender equality by inserting a line that questions why it’s labeled only the Tara Singh murder case when his wife too was killed on stage with him.

And so, Jugraj tries to include every known element. A journalist who’s maintained immaculate records of the Tara Singh murder even though the cops had closed the case decades ago and a politician with drunken scenes. Casting director Mukesh Chhabra also marks a flamboyant appearance as another music company owner Dimpy Grewal. 

Lines are written for swaggering effect. Kaala’s “It takes 90 seconds to fall in love, 90 days to confess it” impresses Jazz instantly.

But it is one line from an elderly woman that really works. “Become Tara Singh and the killer will emerge,” she says. Kaala, so unbelievably gifted that he can move from cool rap to classical Sufi via sentimental romance, will go to any lengths to become as famous as Tara for the killer to show himself.

In the process, Jugraj lays out a musical spread that makes this a different experience.

However, the interesting concept of a musical thriller set in vibrant Punjab gets waylaid by too many familiar ingredients. It’s therefore, not the gripping watch it had the potential to be. With his criminal inclinations, there’s also little empathy for Kaala the protagonist. And the web has just been cast with the unmasking of the conspirators spilling over to the next season. But the casting is well executed with credible performances from all the main players.

Chamak – Watch Or Not?: The Punjabi viewer may feel at home, the music a definite draw. If only the thriller part had been more engrossing, it would’ve made a more compelling watch.

Chamak Review Score Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Chamak Official Trailer:

Chamak Official Trailer (Credit: Sony LIV)

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Music, Murder & Male Swagger Chamak Review: Music, Murder & Male Swagger