There are some magical people in the world who rule a particular section of arts. This legendry music composer, ‘ILAYARAJA’ is rightly called the ‘Maestro’. He is definitely a person to be called the ‘King of Indian Music’. He composes music in such a way that western elements are blended thoroughly with the required classical tinge. He ruled south Indian music for more than 2 decades.This creative mastermind has a lot that is not known to many of us.
1. He was born in a very poor family, in a village in Theni district Tamil Nadu. He worked as an agricultural laborer on daily wages. He has studied till 8th grade.
2. He always wanted to do something big in music industry.
3. His first guru was Dhanraj Master. Before that Ilayaraj used to play devotional music in churches.4. Salil Chowdhury was an Indian music composer, who mainly composed for Bengali, Hindi and Malayalam films. He was also a poet and a playwright. Ilayaraja started his career in music as a guitar and organ player under many composers included him.
5. He worked as an assistant to many music directors including the great Music Director G.K. Venkatesh and worked for several Kannada movies.
6. He earned a diploma in music from the renowned Trinity College, London.7. He is a gold medalist in Classical Guitar from the ‘Trinity College of Music’. Classical and guitar is a magical combination, afterall!
8. Ilayaraja made his debut in 1976 for the movie, Annakili, which is regarded as one of Tamil cinema’s cult classics. He composed for 4 films that year .
9. After his success rate increased, he started to sing more songs each day. In the year 1992, he scored music for 52 films.10. He used to sing almost 3 songs as an average every year.
11. Ilayaraja had the rare ability of writing down all his music without playing an instrument or singing the tune, in the morning hours.
12. Mixing and other finishing work is done the same day in the time left after recording.13. Ilayaraja has delivered background music for almost all the films he scored.
14. He has scored almost 4500 songs in his career, still counting.
15. He was the first Asian to write a symphony for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at London in 1993. What is even more remarkable is the fact that he did it in an amazing one-month span. Pandit Ravi Shankar was the only other Indian to do it, besides him.16. He did not just make music, but also created it. Ilayaraja is believed to have invented a new Carnatic raga, popularly known as ‘Panchamukhi’.
17. “Give me half an hour and I can finish a film”, his famous lines.
18. This man did not stop with making music for films. He did it for some albums too. His noted musical works include “Nothing But the Wind,” “How to Name It,” and “Singing Skylarks”.19. The authenticity in the instruments he used is fabulous. He used unique instruments like astharai, nadaswaram and thappattai (drums).
20. Besides A.R.Rahman, he is the only Indian music composer to have won four National Film Awards (the highest honor in the Indian Cinema industry); three for best music direction and one for best background score.
21. He is also the recipient of the coveted ‘Padma Bhushan’, awarded by the Government of India.22. Amitabh Bachchan, who sang a couple of songs under his music direction had this to say about the legend, “I asked Ilayaraja to record the song and send it to me. I said I shall work on it quietly and send it back as I did not have the courage to sing in front ogf him.
23. He is an Instrumentalist, Conductor, Singer, Score Composer, Music Director, Lyricist and Film Producer.
Now, we are short of words to credit this legend.
24. In his career spanning over 30 years, Ilayaraja has composed a diverse variety of songs. His latest films like Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu and Shamitabh gave us a modern touch with a native feel