Ilayarajas music is a great example of Tamil culture. His music was introduced to the public through his first film Annakili. But one could say, his music journey started when he started to elaborate on the communist ideals of his elder brother Pavalar Varadarajan when he accompanied him for meetings. Writer Jayakanthan describes
Pavalar Varadarajan as "kaalathai kadandha kavignan." He is a musician and his influence on Ilayaraja is visible.
One should not dismiss Ilayaraja, who hails from Pannaipuram, as a mere musician. As a composer of a symphony and the Thiruvasagam Symphony that has attained worldwide fame, he is a music maestro or Isaignani. He is a composer who melds poetry and music. Hes also a spiritual person who offers the fame he earns at the feet of the lord.
Only after this multifaceted person entered the Tamil film field, the lips that sang Hindi numbers started singing Tamil swaras. His contribution in popularizing Tamil music is immense. To his credit, he has worked in more than 850 films and composed more than 5000 songs!
Ilayaraja is still the master of film background music. Music composers usually measure the length of a scene by using a stop watch to compose for that segment. But Ilayaraja is the only composer who composes easily without using any such instruments. This ability has surprised even foreign music composers.
For Balu Mahendra, "Ilayarajas music gives my films a totally different dimension."
Among Indian composers, Ilayaraja composed a symphony and got the title of maestro.
What prepared him for this? Ilayaraja explains.
To make a name in films, Ilayaraja came to Chennai. There was no one in Chennai that he knew or who would help him. He knew only writer Jayakanthan. He visited Jayakanthan and said he came because of trust in him. Pat came the response, "Who asked you to believe in me? You must first believe in yourself."
These words of advice are what have stood Ilayaraja in good stead in all areas of his music career.
On coming 23rd, Ilayaraja is set to make another mark in his career. Lakshman Sruthi has been presenting music programs with many singers and on this occasion, Ilayaraja will be performing at the Wesley School Grounds in Royapettah at 6pm.
Only songs composed by Ilayaraja will be performed that evening and Ilayaraja will be singing the songs himself. This is the first time that a composer is going to sing all his songs himself at a music program. He will be accompanied by Chitra, Swarnalatha, Sasirekha, Malathi and Srilekha Parthasarathy.
With his flair for comedy, Vivek will be the presenter of the evening. The songs will be interspersed with stars sharing anecdotes on their relationship with the maestro. Ilayaraja usually shies away even from music programs, so how did he agree to this?
It is for the sake of friendship and literature, says Lakshman. Ilayaraja and Ponnadiyar, the publisher of Mullaicharam literary magazine have been friends of 40 years. The proceeds from this program are to go towards Mullaicharam. This is a big service a music composer is doing for literature.
The apt title Lakshman Shruti has kept for this program is ONE MAN SHOW!