Rapper-actor Chaitanya Sharma aka SlowCheeta, who recently collaborated with musical maestro Amit Trivedi for Mohabbat, gets candid with The Pioneer about working with the music director, his inclination towards music, exclusive deets of his upcoming project Maidaan, and more.
Thomas Keller, a renowned American chef had once very well said, ‘We go through our careers and things happen to us. Those experiences made me what I am’. And we couldn’t find anything else as apt as this thought that could go well with the talented actor cum rapper Chaitanya Sharma aka SlowCheeta. Well, today he has carved his own niche with his talent, so much so that, recently he collaborated with the maestro Amit Trivedi for the track Mohabbat. To him, from having grown up listening to his songs, to working with him and creating a song was no less than a ‘dream come true’.
In this exclusive chitter-chatter and fun chat with him, he recalls writing around five versions for the song Mohabbat. In fact, he shares, “It was the process of creating it in the studio that was the most memorable moment for me. He was telling me the beat and I had to write words for it so I wrote over five versions and he was like dont write a song write a thought, and people understand these thoughts. As an artist one thing that I thought of writing was the message of love.” He would also love to collaborate with several other music maestros from the industry because, “As much as the collaboration that I do, I get to learn equally.”
He in fact feels privileged that music had chosen him since he hasn’t been professionally trained into it. Recalling the days back, he shares, “The criteria’s would point towards the direction that I shouldn’t become a musician but I had a lot to express. I had an inclination towards music in general so I was introduced to hip-hop and I realised that is something that I could do to express myself and not in a particular melody or a set of rules. Hip hop is very accepting, and inclusive so to be me and feel included and to feel like you can do this, I really feel great. Since childhood I was this short kid with spects who had a lot of aspirations, but we often judge a book by its cover, and within me, I somewhere had the flare that I can write and communication is something that I have really enjoyed, be it with conversation, song or acting, so i feel it was always meant to be in that sense, but to be able to find shelter in music, i really feel obliged to be able to do what i do.”
Something that really explains the current times, be it heartbreaks, societal norms, or crimes against women, rap has been one of the musical genres that speaks what our hearts wish to say. And the Mohabbat singer couldn’t agree much as he says, “Rap has always been created as a rebel music or a community, that wanted to speak against the authority, some kind of atrocity that they witnessed and they went on to create an art form, and that revolved into anything and everything that’s happening. What’s fascinating about rapping is that woh aap kisi mai bhi banalo acha hi lagega.”
Now something that we were fascinated very much more apart from his music was his on-stage name ‘SlowCheeta’. And he says there have been several influences behind his name including that his nickname since his childhood was Cheeta. Well, he goes on to recall, “I have an elder brother, whose nickname was Sheru and my mom used to be like, ‘‘mere ghar sher cheetah paida hue hai’ (We laugh out loud). Though my brother din’t like the nickname, I was really fascinated when people used to call me Cheeta. With Cheeta being the slowest, when its on its hunt, and technically Cheeta is the fastest than the humans, so its almost like I run at my own pace. When i started rapping, I had a habit to not necessarily rap fast, and people had this opinion that rap is all about talking fast, which i wanted to make them understand. Then there is the song called SlowCheeta by my favourite band Chilly Peppers, and lastly it’s an ‘Oxymoron’, and fits pretty well.”
Not just with the music, but our consummate artist has enraptured hearts with his acting skills too. And how well! But one thing we were really eager to know of was how does he maintain a balance towards both the different art? And he says, “I do it to maintain a balance of my own mental health and peace because I think by competing myself I am always winning because it’s like if the actor is not working the rapper is working and vice versa. Acting depends a lot on others which includes doing auditions, being shortlisted, getting rejected, being recognised by the audience, and more. On the other hand, rapping is very independent. You can write a song, get the beat, and produce it. So I can have the best of both the world; one that depends on how hard I work and how well people receive me, the other one is very much dependent on myself, improving my lyrical ability, and making my own music and get in touch with the general rhythm of the world.”
Talking of his upcoming projects, he is soon going to star alongside an ensemble cast including Ajay Devgn in Maidaan. For this, Chaitanya reveals he had auditioned for three months, and prepared a Monologue in Bengali since he plays the character of renowned Indian footballer PK Banerjee. Going further, he recalls, “We were actually playing a match in Bandra, and we were almost going to lose. And it was then that the AD of the film came to see the match so he could cast someone who could be similar to PK Banerjee. Fortunately, I hit three hattricks and we won, and I got a call from the team for the film the next day. The AD later found out that I was an actor too, so that’s how I went well with being cast as PK Banerjee because along with playing football, I kind of resembled him as well.”
Now, you’ve got to wait for the next time that we connect with Chaitanya Sharma aka SlowCheeta to get more exclusive insights on Maidaan. For sure, sometime really soon!