I don’t think anybody knows I can sing: Sasha Chettri – The girl famously known as the Airtel 4G girl, on her upcoming EP ‘Ricksharani’, acting plans and more…
Sasha Chettri, otherwise known as ‘that Airtel 4G girl’, is scheduled to release her debut EP called Ricksharani soon. We caught up with her recently to talk shop and among other things, ask one pertinent question. Why hasn’t the telecom brand made use of her other talents yet? Read on…
What’s with the quirky title of your EP, Ricksharani?
I’ve been in Mumbai for quite some time now and I’ve travelled a lot in rickshaws. I think it’s a tribute to all the rickshawallahs out there who hustle everyday and still their life is completely colourful and amazing. And also, a tribute to my journey in Mumbai. It’s a tribute to people whom I’ve spent a lot of time with, knowingly or unknowingly.
Now that everybody knows you as the Airtel girl, how often do you travel by a rick now?
Surprisingly, still quite a bit (Chuckles). I like to wear a pair of shades and just make sure that nobody recognizes me and I still hustle around in rickshaws quite a bit.
Have you gotten into an argument of sorts with any rickshawallah for the kind of music that they play?
(Laughs) Not really, man! But I’ve had several heart-to-heart conversations with a lot of them.
Do you discuss their taste in music?
Definitely. A lot of rickshawallahs listen to quite a bit of old music. It’s interesting to see how they like a lot of old classics or a lot of regional music, since they are all from different pockets, up north or other places.
What kind of songs do we expect from the EP?
Five tracks in all. We’ve shot the music videos of Ricksharani on a massive budget. We’ve shot in locations which I never dreamt of shooting in. Besharam will be the first track to release, Uske baad, Halla. Also, I’ve been brainstorming with music producers on what’s the best thing to put out. It’s been a crazy journey. This is the album I’ve been dreaming of since I was in Standard 7. Itt’s been a long time coming.
Considering that you sing, write and compose, why haven’t you done a jingle for Airtel yet?
Oh My God! That is it! Now, that you’ve given me this idea I’m going to DO it. I never thought of this to be honest and now that you’re saying it, I think I should!
Yeah! Didn’t the brand ever approach you for a jingle or something?
As of now, I don’t think the brand has approached me for a jingle, but I would love to. It’s a brilliant idea!
Whose idea was it to come up with your album?
Mine. Like I said, it’s been a long time coming.I used to do western music initially. When I first came to Bombay I used to do shows at various clubs and pubs and I used to perform at weddings etc, sing songs with a guitar and a band. And then slowly I realised that it makes more sense to do Hindi music and to do Indian. Because mujhe bohot ajeeb lagta tha when I used to go to clubs and I used to do covers of various western artists. Toh uske baad I started to compose in Hindi myself. Then I put together the composition sitting with a music producer and we brought the composition to life.
You are the sole writer, singer and composer of the entire album, I believe…
Yes. There are a couple of people who I’ve sat and brain stormed with in terms of writing, like there’s a friend of mine called Vaayu (he’s done Banno Tera Swagger etc) so he’s helped to sort of put together certain parts of the track. Or bhi tracks hain actually.
What are the locations where you’ve shot the music videos?
So the first video which we’ve just finished shooting is shot in a club called Playboy in town. And Sachin Gupta, who’s a really prominent music director, he sort of shot the whole thing and he put together the entire piece.It’s been quite a riot and quite a ride and it’s been fun. We had the entire time of 12 hours to knock off a lot of stuff which a lot of people take many days for.. so yeah!
Do you plan to go for playback singing in Bollywood?
Definitely! It’s a very vast industry and I really respect the kind of efforts and hard work that a lot of people put into it and if I do get the right kind of music to sing and some brilliant people to work with then I would for sure consider playback.
Any Bollywood offers yet?
So acting, yes! For singing, not yet, because I don’t think anybody knows that I can sing yet! So it’s gonna be a big surprise.
Any collaborations for this particular album or those you’re looking forward to in future?
I am definitely looking forward to collaborating with rappers and various music artistes, like I would love to collaborate with a lot of people in the industry actually. If I start taking names, my list would never end (laughs). But I’m looking forward to collaborate with a lot of people musically and even visually, in the industry.
Top 5 people on your bucket list?
That’s a very difficult question. But the first name that comes in my head is Diljit Dosanjh. I think he has a very beautiful voice. I’d love to do something with Sachin Gupta. He’s an amazing artiste and I’ve still not done anything with him musically. Then I would like to collaborate with AR Rahman, of course! Then I’m thinking of some good female singer from the industry, so Neeti Mohan may be. She has an amazing voice, I’d love to collaborate with her and there’s another very beautiful singer with a beautiful voice, Harshdeep Kaur.
Your advice to anybody who’s just starting off as a newcomer?
You HAVE to believe! It’s a very cliched advice but I think it’s the only advice that actually works. Because a lot of people tell you a lot of stuff but if you know what you want and you believe in it like a delusional sort of a demented belief then eventually it’ll happen.
How would you look back at your journey in Bombay till now?
I think it’s been a very crazy journey, that’s the only word that can be used to describe it. And it’s been a big learning experience for me right from day one. I’m still learning!
Any anecdote you’d like to share from you initial days?
Now that you’ve asked me, the only anecdote that I remember is me selling magazines (giggles). I didn’t want to tell at home that I’m in need of money so I decided to go to Phoenix mills and sell magazines. So, there was a furniture magazine which needed a young salesgirl to go around and sell magazines. And I remember standing in Phoenix mills and selling those magazines and it’s quite exhausting cause you’ve to be on your feet for quite sometime. And a couple of my college people were roaming around and shopping so I sort of pretended that I was in the mall shopping and not selling magazine. This is just after XIC (her college in Bombay). Because I didn’t really want to be at XIC but I couldn’t tell my parents ke mujhe music banana hai because they would have shot me. So, I was trying to buy myself time so I just said something to do with media and I have to be in Bombay type. Toh that’s an embarrassing incident when I pretended, all of a sudden I took the magazine down and I just started walking around, pretending that I’m shopping (bursts out laughing).
What after Ricksharani?
I will be doing a film, so that is happening. But in terms of music, definitely, I’m not quitting making music. That’s not gonna stop ever. That’s the reason why I am in Bombay, to do music. So, that’s the plan.