‘Kala chashma’ made poor wedding singer Amar Arshi a star

Amar with his wife and a friend. The original song was sung at weddings.

Amar with his wife and a friend. The original song was sung only at village weddings.

Growing up in a poverty-stricken family in the village Nangal Majja  where no one was interested in music, Amar Arshi began singing at local jagrans and weddings in Punjab.

He taught himself music by listening to folk songs sung by legendary Punjabi singers  such as Gurdas Mann, Surinder Shinda and Kuldeep Manak.

This was until he found a guru in popular singer Amar Singh Chamkeela.

“I would find myself at his office at 4 am and sing for him, learn from him. Whatever I know is because of him,” says Arshi, whose parents didn’t appreciate the idea of a career in music and would often ask him to do something “constructive”.

“My mother would constantly get irritated when I would play the harmonium. But I wouldn’t budge,” says Arshi, for whom Kala chashma, 20 years ago, was one of the 10 songs being recorded to be taken to England.

“I was excited that some music producers were actually recording me. I sang with all my heart,” says Arshi, who didn’t get any money for the song then. “I would get happy if I got paid in those days. I was okay if I didn’t,” says Arshi, who is happy that at least people in Punjab are recognising that his voice exists in a Karan Johar film.

“It’s funny that people are asking me to sing Kala chashma at maata ka jaagrans now. I tell them this is not the place for a song such as this and do not oblige,” says Arshi. – CINEWS

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