Afternoon Voice is delighted to launch #GenNext and welcomes the readers to a new column dedicated to the lives, values, and achievements of the Generation Next who are successfully carrying the legacy of their golden elders. #GenNext starts its journey with Chaitanya Bhosle a.k.a Chin2 Bhosle, a successful singer, actor, RJ, and the grandson of legendary grandmother Asha Bhosle. Chin2 Bhosle of 90s pop sensation and India’s first and only boy band “A Band Of Boys (ABOB)” in a chat with Editor-in-Chief Dr. Vaidehi opens up about his ride into the entertainment industry and the feeling of belonging to the country’s ‘first family of music’.
What is the biggest strength and weakness of Chin2?
My biggest strength: I’m very work-proud and will push till I get the result that satisfies me. It’s not about what will make the world happy but what will satisfy me. This holds true for everything that I do.
My biggest weakness: I see myself as the Jack of all trades, Master of none. This figure of speech works for me but many times I feel the vacuum of not knowing more on a particular subject. My life choice was to do all the things that I like and get a fair level of proficiency or focus on it but because I ended up doing a lot of things (singing, composing, radio jockeying, corporate, education and curriculum, playing the guitar, directing, etc), I was and am very time restricted and hence, have found it really tough to delve deeper.
Tell us your journey from Chaitanya to Chin2!
My journey started off with me completing my MBA from one of India’s then premiere B schools Narsee Monjee and then working at the advertising agency Lintas. After a year, I realised that there was more to life than a 9 a.m. -1 a.m. job and I switched from being a part-time musician to a full-time one. I then left my job and started dabbling in sound engineering and music composition.
My grandmother offered to help me and put me in touch with people but I refused on two grounds:
- I would like to do it on my own, with minimum people knowing of our connection (I had her name and that was help enough).
- If I ever needed help, I would ask her for it.
She agreed with her blessings.
Post that, I started composing scratch jingles, became an RJ on AIR 107.1 (before the advent of private stations), and performed in a lot of theatres, especially musicals (performed as Che Guevara in Alex Padamsee’s Evita with Sharon), and so on. This was when ‘A Band of Boys’ happened and post the first album launching, there was no looking back.
I would like to add here that even after I became known, thanks to my band – A Band of Boys – very few people knew that Asha Ji was my grandmother. This was because I actively didn’t promote the fact or encourage questions about it.
Chaitanya became Chin2 (the artist) when I left my job. I’ve always been called Chin2 since my childhood. It’s just that the ‘2’ came about in college and has got stuck since then.
What are the similarities in You and your legendary grandmother Asha Bhosle?
Music is at the core of who we are. Hers, of course, is at an entirely different level all together but everything that I’ve done since leaving my job has had music at its core. In 2006, I’d even joined Reliance and got associated with the Big FM as its Programming Head – be it theatre, radio or films, the hook to me for doing anything always had music involved.
The other similar trait we have is that we both call a spade a spade! Again she, of course, is a legend and has the absolute right to do that while I’ve suffered a lot with this genetic trait – I’ve fortunately have had a few regrets thus far!
What is the most complex thing about working with Asha Ji and what has influenced you the most about her?
I wouldn’t know where to begin. Her never-say-can’t attitude, her always wanting to learn and see new things, her inability to give up, her perseverance and professionalism, her ability to finish a hard day’s music and work and come and cook an entire meal for the family, her standing tall and unbroken through all the personal anguish that she’s been through (which would have broken most people I know). The list is never-ending.
The most important thing she’s taught me is that your work is your identity; stay true to who you are in what you do, even if it means pissing off people as, in the long run, this will define who you are and what you become.
How do you rate yourself as the next generation of legendary Bhosles?
I rate myself very highly!
The thing is I don’t rate myself by how the world or you would see me or my accomplishments. I am a singer, performer, music composer, a director, and currently, a music educator with a (dare I say) India’s only modern and fun Hindustani vocal curriculum launched (with the Furtados School of Music). I’ve happily dabbled in – acting (on stage and cinema), given music for a couple of unreleased films, directed theatre and videos, started India’s first band for pre-schoolers (the Chikaraks) and have written and performed hugely successful live shows for them….and lots more! So, to be honest, I really don’t care what the world has to say but I’m very satisfied with what I’ve done thus far and I’m loving it!
What did you learn from Hridaynath, Lata Ji, and other Mangeshkar siblings?
This is one hugely talented family and the most beautiful thing to learn is how each one interprets the same thing – note wise, musically, attitude wise – their perspectives are so different yet filled with wisdom and maturity.
What are challenges while performing live and recording in the studio?
I’d choose live any day. It’s the spur of the moment and you are on high alert at every second – how to react, what to do next, how to cover up a mistake or make the most of the given situation. I’ve always loved that, even when I was an RJ, I love spontaneity. I like imperfection. It keeps me wired, pushes me, and gives me a feeling of being alive.
Recordings, on the other hand, are about perfection and retakes which call upon a different skill set. A slight movement of cloth, clearing of the throat, slightly blocked nose will result in a retake. So, it’s a very controlled environment, it has its fun and also hugely satisfying to get something right but I am more of a ‘spur of the moment’ personality, I live for live!
Have you ever faked or tried to be pretentious when it comes to acting, singing, and performing?
Oh yes…Many times! I’ve always been very blunt and oft would end up hurting a lot of people whilst believing that honesty is the best thing. However, time and maturity have taught me that black and white is not the best way to be. There is perfect harmony in shades of grey too. So many songs I’ve had to sing which I really didn’t believe in but I couldn’t be blatant about it. Instead, I now see the good in things I don’t like and then attack the job professionally and to my satisfaction.
What would have been your struggle in the music industry without Bhosle surname and that lineage?
As mentioned earlier, it really wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I was known as a singer and member of ‘A Band of Boys’ way before people knew I was Asha Ji’s grandson. So, that worked out great for me as it was how I would’ve intended it to be. Post that, I’ve given the information more freely as I’m now confident that people don’t have to humour me because of my lineage but because of my body of work.
Do you have any plans for Bollywood?
I have done some music for Bollywood and am always open to future collaborations. However, I’ve not actively pursued it and don’t plan to. Currently, I’ve been very busy with getting the music to kids and schools in a modern and fun manner and the road I currently walk on doesn’t give me time to indulge in Bollywood’s whims and fancies. But hey, I am always open if something falls in my lap.
What is more fascinating — singing or acting?
Singing, without batting an eyelid! I’ve always been a huge fan of Radio (as an RJ and channel head). I feel that the medium of audio presents very interesting challenges as it evokes the theatre of the mind. A sound can mean different things to different people and the possibilities of usage have always fascinated me.
I have dabbled in acting (on stage, TV, and film) and the one full-length Bollywood feature film I did with my band; for me personally, the process was unbelievably boring and tedious. I’m sure a lot of folks enjoy it and loads of talent and skill is needed but it just didn’t do it for me.