Ilaiyaraja

  • There is no household in Tamil Nadu that goes a day without Ilaiyaraja’s music being played. 
  • His music has touched millions of souls. In Tamil Nadu, ‘music’ and ‘Ilaiyaraja’ are synonymous. The impact of his music is such that when one writes a poem about their mother, and when they describe Ilaiyaraja’s music, the emotions are of the same scale. 
  • He belongs to the village of Pannaipuram. During his youth, he used to play stage music at communist meetings, along with his elder brother Paavalar Varadarajan. One fine day, it struck him to leave for Chennai and take his music to a larger audience through the instrument of cinema. He stayed with Bharathiraja and started looking for chances. It was at that time that Producer Panju Arunachalam was looking for a music director for the movie ‘Annakili’. It was God’s plan for Ilaiyaraja to be at the right place at the right time. It took only the first stanza of the song ‘Machaana paartheengala..’, for Panju Arunachalam to decide that Ilaiyaraja should be the music director for this movie. As soon as he heard Ilaiyaraja’s composition, Panju Arunachalam embraced him and said “You are going to rule the world of music. I’m proud to introduce you to the cinema world.” Annakili was released on May 14, 1976. Since that day, Ilaiyaraja’s songs have been the people’s companion of all times.
  • Before Ilaiyaraja’s entry, Tamilians favoured Bollywood songs. At that time the movie ‘Araadhana’ was a great musical hit. The songs of Araadhana were more popular in Tamil Nadu than they were in North India. But the songs of Annakili broke the trend and people started favouring songs from Tamil movies. Ilaiyaraja’s song encompassed a wide range of emotions and there is a song for every mood. This diversity in Ilaiyaraja’s songs is what gained him people’s love.
  • Ilaiyaraja’s day started with music and ended with music. He has been the music director for more than 1000 movies. There were days when he finished the albums for 3 movies in a single day. No other music director has been able to break this record till date.
  • He is an extraordinary composer. Before recording a song, Ilaiyaraja would sit in the lobby, decide the tune and compose the notes for the song to the very last detail. Composing is not an easy job and very few musicians like Beethoven and Mozart have had the knowledge of composing.
  • A die-hard fan of Mozart. He is such a big fan that he knows the movie ‘Amedeus’, the biopic of Mozart, by-heart. He would give us so much details about the movie’s music that would make us watch the movie with a different eye the next time we watch it.
  • He has utmost respect for his predecessors in the Tamil music industry. He never fails to mention the impact of M. S. Viswanathan’s music on his career, in any stage or interview.
  • Ilaiyaraja’s music is a part of Tamil Nadu. For every person in Tamil Nadu, their love for Ilaiyaraja’s music stands right after their love for their mother and their mother-tongue.