Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Ilaiyaraja

Ilaiyaraja turns 66 today. When I learnt it was his birthday, I felt compelled to write something about him. It is impossible to write a post which does justice to his contribution to music. So I wont even go there.

IR has been composing since '70s. He would've done almost every genre of music that can be applied to Indian Cinema. Picking best of his works would be like trying to pick rain drops from the ocean.

I play Violin and I am very fond of my mother tongue, Thamizh. Violin and Thamizh form an integral part in most of IR works. From my collection of IR's work, these are the instrumental scores where IR mesmerizes me with the use of Violin. These three albums are very special to me.
  • Thiruvasagam - Thiruvasagathuku urugaar, oru vasagathukum orugaar (one who does not get moved by Thiruvasagam will not be moved by anything else)

...the plethora of BGMs like this, this, this, this, this and interludes.


Picked up a tag from Mahesh's blog.

a. The moment you got introduced to IR's music?

"Raja...rajadhi rajan indha raja" from Agni Nakshathram. I was probably 5 -6 year old then. I was hooked to that song.

b. Name one occasion where IR music directly/indirectly influenced your life.

IR's scores made me realise the power of music. There is a saying 'Music is the food for the soul'. I firmly believe in that.

c. Name 4 fav tamil songs that immediately comes to your mind

Andhi mazhai from Raja Paarvai
Poongathave from Nizhalghal
Thendral Vandhu from Avatharam
Rakamma from Dhalapathi

d. One song of IR that you consider rare and think a song many people should have known but don't.

I don't see many people talking about Paravayin kootil from Katradhu Thamizh. This song is sung by IR, the music is by Yuvan. Along with the great lyrics by Thamarai, the way IR renders this song makes it quite special.

e. IR's number you are hearing now or recently heard?

Listening to En Iniya pon nilave from Moodupani.

Raja rules! Happy birthday Isaignaani!


  1. I admit, I haven't heard any of this music before :$ My knowledge in tamil music is almost none, and is pretty restricted to carnatic.

    I enjoyed it all though, I loved the "How to name it". My sister plays the violin too, i'm sure she'd really enjoy it.

  2. I play violin and had always dreamt to play like Kunnakudi...
    IR may be 66 But he has Ilaya aennagal, Ilaya Thalaimurai fans and he is endrendurum Ilayavan...Please post your comments after reading mine..looking forward

  3. 4 fav songs.. poor imagination for a genius.....

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  5. I started to follow up IR songs when the mp3 era started perhaps in college!

    There isnt one or two to say that it is the best! There are plenty!!

    Some MD said he is probably one of earliest music director who blended carnatic raagas to tamil film songs so taht even non carnatic ppl also enjoy music!!

    all the bgms you shared are just brillant!! I think Mouna Ragam and Punnagai Mannan stand out!!

    Tamil film industry has seen some amazing MDs from MSV,Sankar Ganesh, ARR,HJ till James Vasanthan!! They will be remembered for their work1!
    In IRs case there is so many songs to remember!!

    Irrespective of how many enter/leave Tamil Film Music, IR would stand as one of the best and would be remembered for the romantic songs he has left us!!

  6. foreigndesi, you've got a lot of listening to do :) People who know carnatic music enjoy his tunes more because they appreciate IR's adeptness to blend it in. All the subtle variations, deviations he does. Among the modern music directors, IR is arguably the best to do justice to carnatic music.

    anon, no wonder he is 'ilaiya'raja.

    vijayGanesh, i know. i know. hehe. had i drafted the questions, it wouldve been different. it is impossible to list fav songs for IR or ARR...there is just darn too many.

    nirmal, yes. me too. thanks to the mp3 age. unlike tapes and cds, we could listen, access and store songs easily. ive listened to soo many of IRs early songs in the last few years. IR is the king of bgm. a true legend!

    always, your profile is not available.

  7. Thendral vandhu from avathaaram. Pah. Magic score. One of my perennial favs.
    Got to see some one spell 'tamizh' and not 'tamil'. Heartwarming:)

  8. archana,

    thendral vandhu song - ya. super song. im also reminded of another song from teh same movie "oru gundu malli kulungudhadi kannamaa kaadhula kaadhula". heard it? i like the way IR (or Nasser?) has sung it.

    tamizh - watta difference the 'zh' makes eh. :)

  9. Unfortunately, no. Haven't heard the song. Tried googling it asusual, but don't seem to ve caught it on:)

  10. i found the song in trusty old cooltoad. here is the link.


    i listened to this after a loong time. i like the village/folk'sy feel of the song. something different. :)