The Mark Manuel Interview: On the track but off the field with Dwayne Bravo


#DwayneBravo is not big. Watching him on TV, nattily turned out in yellow, and spectacularly batting, bowling and fielding for the #ChennaiSuperKings franchise in the IPL matches, I thought Bravo was a hulk. He is not. That’s his West Indian teammate #ChrisGayle. Playing for the #RoyalChallengersBangalore. And even #KieronPollard of the #MumbaiIndians. Now sitting next to the cricketer in a premium builder’s marketing office in Andheri, I got the measure of the great Trinidadian all-rounder.

I would have preferred to meet Bravo at the Wankhede. After a T20 match. But he wasn’t here to play cricket. The swashbuckling sports superstar was in Mumbai in his new avatar as #DJBravo. A rap singer who balances a rocking musical career alongside his cricketing assignments. He began in the Caribbean in 2012. And by now has taken his music around the world. Producing 16 songs. Collaborating with kindred souls like #BlackShadow, #JassieGill and #NishaB. Making the kind of music that got him a whole new and different fan following internationally.

 Now Bravo is here to promote his new single called #TheChamiyaSong in which he has teamed up with #DanceIndiaDance fame choreographer #ShaktiMohan. The song is out. The video will be released today. Bravo told me confidentially, “This will become the Indian wedding anthem!” I asked him how many Indian weddings he had been to. He grinned, a flash of white in a brown Caribbean face, “Only one – #SureshRaina’s. I’ve not experienced a real Indian wedding. I’m usually playing cricket that time of the year. I’ve been to Indian weddings in Trinidad where the population is 45%  Indian. But it’s different there. The real deal is here!”

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He was wearing white Pumas, gray tracks and a white tee. A NYC baseball cap sat jauntily on his head. After the interview, he was to perform #TheChamiyaSong at the #FilmfareGlamourandStyleAwards. It turned out the builder in whose office we were chatting, was one of the promoters of the song. A man interrupted us with a cell phone. Bravo’s stylist had sent pictures of costumes. He was to select what he wanted to wear for the night. He peered uncertainly at the phone. The stylist called on another phone and engaged Bravo in conversation. There’s a singsong lilt in his voice when he talks. And the graceful rhythm of dance in his body even when he is seated. But, oh my, was Bravo colour blind? He questioned the stylist, “This red outfit… what, it’s not red, it’s maroon! Hmnn, and the dark blue one with buckles? That’s black! I’m okay with that.”

We didn’t talk much cricket. He was here as #DJ Bravo to promote his music. Back home there was not much appreciation for his music. Trinidad respected him for cricket. They didn’t think music was good for him. Or that he was doing something different and positive. So he came often to India. “I use it to my advantage,” Bravo admitted, “I have a big fan base here, I’ve had success, I get love and opportunity.” Although he raps in Hindi and Punjabi, Bravo understands neither language. “But as long as the message in the song is good, it fits my personality, and is not crazy or vulgar, I’ll do it,” he said. After cricket, since Bravo is officially in retirement, I said he ought to be most comfortable in showbiz. “I’m friends with #SRK and he made a promise to me that one day he will let me act in one of his films. I’m holding him to that,” he declared with another sunshine smile.

Watch my interview with DJ Bravo on YouTube: 

(Source: PeepingMoon)