Benny Dayal is one man who has steadily climbed the success ladder and has carved his own nice in Bollywood. In an exclusive encounter, Benny talks about his musical debut with A. R. Rahman, his desire to croon for Shah Rukh Khan and much more in our special section Music Mania. Read on…
Were you inclined towards music since childhood?
Yes, music has happened to me since childhood. When you are a child you don’t realize whether you are happy or sad doing something. Same was the case with me. But once I realized music made me happy, I decided to pursue it.
How supportive was your family when you decided to pursue music?
My family was initially not encouraging about me pursuing music as my career. They were skeptical whether I could make it big or not. But when I made my mark, I earned their respect through my hard work and perseverance.
How did you get an opportunity of working with A.R. Rahman?
It was a miracle, because I was working elsewhere and I got a call from his studio. I couldn’t believe it at first, but when they called me for recording it was amazing. And since then, there has been no looking back.
Your songs mostly have been a chartbuster. How do you manage to strike the right chord every time?
I don’t know. But I just feel the music and sing with all the sincere effort. I am not trying to be something that I am not. There are so many characters in me that come out through my song. But otherwise, there is no conscious effort.
Which one moment can be termed as a turning point in your life?
Meeting A.R. Rahman sir definitely!
How was the experience of working with him in your debut film JAANE TU… YA JAANE NA?
It was great working with him. We recorded two songs on the same night. I as a beginner was called to sing and I did that. Rahman sir doesn’t say anything after the song gets recorded so you don’t know whether it would be releasing or not. But when ‘Pappu Can’t Dance Saala’ came out, it did well and I am only thankful to God for it because when you work with Rahman sir and his team, you don’t really know the end result.
One actor for whom you are keen to sing…
I definitely want to sing for Shah Rukh Khan because he is the only actor I haven’t sung for. I am a big fan of his personality. He is a great actor but he is a better human being and I admire that in him. He is great with his work and at the same time humble with the people, especially his fans. He is a people’s person and that is exactly what I love about him.
Your discography boasts of party songs. Do you think you are being stereotyped?
No, in fact I just got my melody hit ‘Hum Naa Rahein Hum’ from CREATURE 3D after 6 years. Even ‘Kabhi Ruhani Kabhi Rumani’ from RAJA NATWARLAL has been a huge hit. So I don’t think I am getting stereotyped at all. My composers give me a song and I sing it.
Which is your personal favourite from the songs you have sung?
‘Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil Gayi’ from GHAJINI, 'Tarkeebein' from BAND BAAJA BAARAT and ‘Badtameez Dil’ from YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI are my personal favourites.
You have also been singing down South. How do you balance Bollywood and Regional?
It depends because I am not running around asking for work. Music is something which just needs to happen. When it is right for you, it will automatically come to you. But I have been fortunate to sing lot of genres and variations. But at the end of the day there is nothing like striking a balance. It is all about how compositions work out for a singer.
One Bollywood song which you want to recreate in your voice?
It is DIL SE title track because that song inspired me to become a musician.
Who is your all-time favourite singer?
You don’t belong to a star family. So how difficult was it to carve your own niche in the industry?
Well it is a risk. When someone sees something unique, they just don’t want to grab it in India. But abroad they look out for fresh stuff. So when I met Rahman Sir, he may have felt that I have something that this industry or the country may not have seen before. And then sir introduced me, and he did that for good. I made it a point to continue working more even though he gave me the break.
You recently associated with two singles – Unite Anthem and World Music Day song. Do you think singles are in vogue?
Well everything has its phase. When Bappi Da came up with disco, it was the beginning of disco phase. Then that died down. Later we had Daler ji, who was followed by Mika Singh, then we had Himeshji and today we have Honey Singh. Everything comes and establishes itself in the industry and becomes the sound of its own. As far as the message of music is positive and it spreads happiness and puts a smile on people’s face, I would love to do.
Your forthcoming projects…
I don’t reveal any.