Chawrasia, who skipped defending the Panasonic Open India, which is being played this week in New Delhi, putted very well and needed just 28 for the round.
His higher ranked teammate Anirban Lahiri shot 70 and rued missing a bunch of putts inside 8-10 feet as he was lying tied-44th.
The leader was Branden Grace, the man who won all five matches at the President Cup last month for the International team. Grace shot nine-under 63 and he led the trio of Kevin Kisner, Steven Bowditch and Thorbjorn Olesen by one shot.
The three-time Asian Tour winner, Chawrasia admitted being disadvantaged by the length of the course at the Sheshan International Golf Club, but he made up for it with his precise short game where he made a total of 28 putts.
"Honestly this is a very long course for me and I just have to hit it straight and putt well. I did all of that today and I'm happy with how I've played,” said Chawrasiya.
"It's a good start and hopefully I can continue the momentum," he added.
Lahiri, meanwhile, remains confident of catching up with the leaders although he could only post a 70 at the Shanghai showpiece, which is also the richest tournament in Asia.
"I have a chance of catching up with the guys ahead, because there's lots of birdies being made today. I just started out weak. I missed a whole lot of putts inside eight feet, so that cost me quite a bit. But I'm happy with the way I played on the back nine," said Lahiri.
Lahiri found just eight of the 14 fairways, but reached 15 greens in regulation. However, with 32 putts for the round, he was found wanting with the putter and that let him down.