Amar Singh Chamkila was born as Dunni Ram. He was born into a poor family in the chamar caste. His aspirations of becoming an electrician were unfulfilled and he found work at a Ludhiana cloth mill. With a natural aptitude for music, he learned to play the harmonium and dholki. In 1979, Chamkila approached Shinda for the first time on a bicycle with his best friend Kuldeep paras. When Shinda heard the 18-year-old Chamkila sing, he had finally found the protege that he had been looking for. Chamkila would go on to play alongside other Punjabi folk artists such. He wrote several songs for Shinda and accompanied him as a member of his entourage before deciding to pursue a solo career.
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Amar Singh Chamkila was married to Gurmail Kaur by family. Chamkila’s second marriage was with his co-singer Amarjot Kaur. It was a love marriage. She was also a singer. She would become Chamkila’s permanent singing partner providing the female vocals for his duets. The couple’s appeal grew not only in the Punjab, but they quickly raced to international stardom among Punjabis abroad. Around this time, Chamkila was receiving more bookings than his contemporaries. It was height of his popularity that Chamkila had performed 366 shows in 365 days. They Rs. 4000 per performance, an unprecedented amount for the time.
Having arrived to perform in Mehsampur, Punjab, both Chamkila and Amarjot were gunned down as they exited their vehicle on 8 March 1988 at approximately 2 o’clock. A gang of motorcyclists fired several rounds, fatally wounding the couple and other members of the entourage. However, no arrests were ever made with connection to the shooting and the case was never solved. There are many other conspiracy theories as to why Chamkila was killed. It is widely reported that he had been the victim of several death threats. The nature of those threats or the rationale behind them still remains a mystery.