Actor Mithun Chakraborty’s dance moves to the beat of the Bappi Lahiri composed song “I Am A Disco Dancer” made him an overnight sensation. It also brought into limelight a singer who was instantly christened as Chakraborty’s on-screen singing voice.
Vijay Benedict’s solo debut in Disco Dancer (1982) accelerated his singing career with such velocity that he decided to change tracks to keep his head out of the clouds. His career soared after the song became a huge hit, but it also meant he would have little time for his family.
In a 2010 interview, Benedict recalled his heydays. “Having gained much fame from my songs, I became a globetrotter with concerts all over the world,” he said. “It was at this juncture that an incident put a halt to everything and led me to ruminate and search for peace that the world and things around me could not offer,” he said, discussing the family tragedy that made him switch from Bollywood to Gospel.
Benedict’s younger brother was murdered in Germany. Benedict was filled with great despair. “The Word of God says that the rich man is attracted to money, ” he said. “I found it very difficult to love God and be in the film industry, so I left films and chose Lord Jesus Christ instead.”
Benedict studied Indian classical music. His singing career began with a sputter in 1978 when he sang “Nazar Lage Na Saathiyon” in Des Pardes. The song was shot with Dev Anand and sung by three other singers, Kishore Kumar, Amit Kumar, Manhar Udhas, for music composer Rajesh Roshan. Four years later, “I Am A Disco Dancer” was topping the charts, announcing Benedict’s flashy arrival.
Benedict put his fame behind him and wouldn’t go as far to proclaim the ’82 hit as his redemption song. A pious man devoted to god, Benedict said, “One morning when I was composing a song, I heard a voice asking me ‘Can you not make one song for me?’” The result was “Yeshu Tu Hai Mahaan”, a redemption song if there ever was one.