Benny Dayal is ruling the charts with the super hit ‘Badtameez dil’. The singer talks about his tryst with tunes to Chitra Swaminathan.
When the music is about dil it has to stir hearts. And a badtameez dil (wayward heart) lends a magical madness to it. But Benny Dayal the voice behind the chart-scorching number ‘Badtameez dil’ from the super hit Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani lets his mind rule. “I don’t want to get carried away. Of course I am delighted. Such adulation is gratifying after years of hard work and seeking out opportunities,” he says over phone from Mumbai, where he shifted to from Chennai a year ago. “I like to tread carefully. Success is about sustained good work,” he adds.
Emerging as the most-viewed Bollywood playback singer on YouTube post this hit, Benny struck the high note also with his other recent songs from Cocktail (‘Daru desi’) and Race 2 (‘Lat lag gayi’) that peaked at number one on popularity charts. “Being a fun person such numbers brings me into my own during the rendition,” he quips.
So what happens to his southern link? “It’s intact. In fact the first track ‘Tamil Pasanga’ in actor Vijay’s upcoming Thalaivaa has been rendered by me. I am a total Madras paiyan. It is the city that shaped my life, career and thoughts. Nothing can take me away from my roots.”
The 29-year-old Benny, who spent the early years of his life in the Gulf, was determined to find his future in music though his parents were not pleased about it. College was spent winning several cultural competitions. But even those couldn’t convince his parents. Then along with four friends he won a music reality show and became a part of the S5 band launched by SS Music. Keen to dabble in different genres, Benny began meeting composers for a break as a playback singer or at least to be a part of the chorus. After a disappointingly long wait, when Benny took up a corporate job, a call from A.R. Rahman’s office changed the course of his life.
“I will ever be grateful to him for helping me keep my dreams alive. To make me sing ‘Chinnamma chilakamma’ (Sakkarakatti) that answered my musical prayers. Someone who has mentored so many young artistes, Rahman makes singers and listeners enjoy the essence of music,” says Benny, who has sung quite a few numbers for the celebrated composer for films such as Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Delhi 6, Varalaru, Azhagiya Tamil Magan and Vinnaithandi Varuvaya.
“Composers Salim-Sulaiman too have a big hand in making my voice reach out. They gave me a lot of songs. They have been like a family, guiding me in every way, especially after I moved to Mumbai where much of my recording was happening. I was wasting a lot of time commuting. So the hard decision to leave Chennai,” says the singer.
Benny has been fortunate to have worked with the best of music directors early on in his career and getting to sing a variety. “Yes, blessed indeed. Getting slotted in a genre could be extremely limiting and stifling, more so, when young composers with fresh perspectives and a flair for experimenting with tunes are doing mainstream cinema.”
Though Benny is busy hopping recording studios and working on his next album, the singer does not want to talk about them. “I believe in enjoying the rhythm of the moment,” he signs off.