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Ilayaraja 75 - Of Music,Memories and Magic!

Monday, February 4, 2019 • Tamil Comments

TFPC had organised the grand musical event Ilayaraja 75 to celebrate and honour the legendary composer Isaignani Ilayaraja and his achievements in a glorious career spanning more than 4 decades, and the two day event was a grand success, with musical performances and top names of the industry sharing stage with the legend himself to present a glimpse of their experiences with him, ultimately giving audience a musical feast.

The highlight of the first day was the presence of the most celebrated disciple of Ilayaraja, AR Rahman. As requested by the host Kasturi, Rahman played music in the keyboard, as Ilayaraja rendered his classic song "Mandram Vandha thendralukku" from Mouna Raagam. As Rahman missed something while playing the tune, Ilayaraja instantly asked him why he was playing that way, adding that he knows the tune well. Later, Ilayaraja revealed that Rahman had worked with him in more than 500 movies, starting from Moondram Pirai, and an emotional Rahman responded saying working in a single movie with Ilayaraja itself is a great experience, amidst a roar of applause.

The second day was even more happening, with the presence of prominent collaborators with the Maestro, like ace director Maniratnam, Superstar Rajnikanth, Ulagaanayagan Kamal Haasan among others. Maniratnam and Ilayaraja made a formidable combo in their prime, and as Maniratnam arrived on stage, Ilayaraja asked him jokingly, "Enna Mani, vayasayiduchu pola?", following which Maniratnam reminisced memories of the past, and his adoration for the legend. Music director Karthik Raja expressed his desire to see the director - composer joining hands again, and requested Maniratnam the same. Ilayaraja also revealed on how he turned lyricist with Idhayam oru Kovil in Maniratnam's Idhaya Kovil.

Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan and Shruti Haasan crooned a number of hit songs like Ram ram from Hey Ram, Unna vida from Virumandi and Ninaivo oru Paravai from Sigappu Rojakkal, besides songs like Kanmani Anbodu from Guna. Kamal Haasan's affection was on display as he sought his blessings falling in his feet, hugged and kissed the legend, as the crowd rejoiced the emotional moment. Kamal said that the the love story between Kamal and Ilayaraja spans 45 years, and that never during this period he had sought his blessings, or hugged and kissed him, and for the first time it has happened now. He said that other than his brother, Ilayaraja was the one who wanted him to enter politics, and that he takes pride in the fact that 10% of his compositions for his movies and that he learnt music from him. Kamal completed his speech saying that in the same way, 75 years of Ilayaraja in films must also be celebrated, after 25 years.

Superstar Rajnikanth later spoke of his association with the legend, and said that he was a Suyambu Lingam, a rarity in Musical field, and that both of them call each other as Samy. He said Ilayaraja made him sing in Mannan, and complained that he had given most of his best hits for Kamal, while Ilayaraja immediately interfered to say that Kamal also says he gave best songs for Rajni, as the crowd enjoyed the moment. Director Shankar who was seen enjoying the event was questioned on why he did not collaborate with the Maestro, and sensing the critical nature of the question, Ilayaraja himself defended Shankar saying that people work with those who give a sense of comfort to work with, following which Shankar said that he had come to the event as a fan.

Tollywood stars Mohan Babu and Venkatesh also graced the occasion, and Mohan Babu, during his speech said that just like New Delhi is the capital of India, Pannaipuram is the capital of music, and also read out a poem he had penned on the legendary composer. The musical feast began with the devotional Janani number from Shri Raghavendra, and was followed by Om Sivoham from Naan Kadavul rendered beautifully by Haricharan.Though SP Balasubrahmaniam's absence was felt, Mano sang the legend's songs in the event. Ananda Raagam and Thalapathy songs were ultimate goosebumps moments for music lovers. 

When Ilayaraja spoke, he said that he had never expected that this will be such a grand event, and thanked Vishal and TFPC for organising the event. He also thanked those who had demanded a stay on the event, saying that this was probably the first time in Indian judicial history that the court has certified an individual, and that was due to them. 

While Vishal and his team are working hard within TFPC by winning votes, these people who wanted to stop the event are working from outside TFPC to make the council win laurels. Some turn the talk of the town by pointing mistakes in music, while some by composing music, and just like that, I wish these people shuttle between courts and their houses by filing more such cases, said Ilayaraja jokingly. The event was a completely engaging one, with the mobile signals getting jammed, facilitating people to listen to the soulful music without getting diverted, and the elated audience gave standing ovation for the composer, as he took them on a nostalgic trip down the memory lane with his magical music.