Chamak review: An ode to the Punjabi music industry that falls short a little because of its inconsistencies

Sakshi Sharma
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Chamak review: This interesting musical thriller where a son goes on to avenge his father's death is beating to the rhythm of Punjabi music and the reality of its industry but it lacks vigor!

Chamak review: Punjabi music is understood by people as something you dance to but it goes beyond just that and the people who know about it also know about the dangers that the Punjabi music industry has. This forms the crux of the show as it deep dives into the Punjabi music industry which is as melodious as it is dominated by powerful people. It follows the tropes of a thriller revenge saga, and despite music being the major highlight of the show, Chamak with all its inconsistencies in narrative lacks the luster of an enthralling musical thriller. 

Kaala, essayed powerfully by a dedicated Paramvir Singh Cheema and his big eyes, is a lost child forced by unforeseen circumstances to grow into an angry man. After committing a crime in Canada, he runs back to Chandigarh. But as he returns, he is forced to face the truth about his traumatic past where his parents were murdered. His father, a revolutionary popular singer was killed in his concert on stage. His mother was killed there and then too. Apart from his quest to know what killed his father - terrorists, honor killing, or his father's partners, he also walks towards the pursuit of becoming a singing superstar in an industry that is demanding and filled with the dominance of powerful people. 

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Rohit Jugraj, the creator and director of the show who is also the music composer of this one, knows the grounds of Punjab, its socio-economic politics, and its music industry all too well. He explores the dilemma of an artist in a place where being a singer, which almost everyone is, is easy but being a star is what takes power. Though it's not this realistic portrayal of the lay of the land that is hard to take, it's the imbalance in the narrative. As one of the characters points out, in this one life that we have, there isn't enough space for two passions to exist simultaneously, similarly, the show trying to balance two passions is somewhere lost in between being a musical thriller and a revenge saga. 

The music ranges from peppy popular tracks including raps to soulful renditions. Every emotion is pinned to a musical rhythm, just like how music videos work where the story isn't as important as the emotional aspect of the music. While this structure works for musical videos, it doesn't for a 6-episode series with so many characters. Not all is lost in this series because apart from the music being the highlight, the truthful portrayal and behind-the-scenes of the Punjabi music industry make for a startling intriguing watch. It truly is an ode to Punjab's music as it focuses on both old folk and new pop culture music. It also does justice to the portrayal of Punjab with its rooted depiction.

Many known faces of the Punjabi industry like Gippy Grewal, MC Square, Mika Singh, Suvinder Vicky, Manoj Pahwa and so many more make an appearance here. Don't miss out on casting director, Mukesh Chhabra's acting skills! I just wished that the show could have found the strength to trust its concept which had so much potential to reach as high as the maddening high level of its own music. Only then would its talented cast have gotten more than what they had to work with to weave magic, and the audience could have equally appreciated and felt the chamak.

Chamak is currently streaming on SonyLIV

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