Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ilayaraja Music

I don't seem to want to listen to music other than Ilayaraja's. It might be keeping me away from a lot of other music, that I could regrettably be missing, but I think his music has special appeal to me because it was the music in the time I was growing up as a child. I remember Gharshana's "Rajadhi Raja" playing on radio as I was rushed up to get ready for school in time to catch the bus. The vocals are another reason. S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, S.Janaki, K.S.Chitra and Jesudas are the voices that defined Telugu film music in that age, and they were always at their best when they sung for Ilayaraja. Listening to his music brings back another time, and the feeling that I'm in India.

I am discovering a lot of Ilayaraja music on Youtube, mostly in Tamil and a lot of which I hadn't heard before, and though I don't understand more than a few words, there is a certain delight in listening. A few ones I've been playing are here:

The first one, Ilayaraja composed for one of Mani Rathnam's early films in 1983. It has been used as the jingle for Idea cellular advertisements recently, R.Balakrishnan the director of the ad is a fan of Ilayaraja music. He also made the recent Hindi film "Cheeni Kum", featuring some rehashed versions of Ilayaraja classics. That is probably testimony to the music's lingering quality. That or that Ilayaraja has a way of forming a die-hard fan club.

With many music directors, many voices and many films today, there is somehow a lesser lingering quality to current Telugu music. It is of course not wise to ask for the monopoly of one single music director or vocalist, as countless people have the desire to sing or make music and some will indeed bring a new wave. But, repetition and a lack of experimentation on the part of music directors and vocalists has led to the creation of music that sounds alright but isn't noteworthy. There is a distinctive feel to Ilayaraja's music, and there is great variety making his music memorable.


Anonymous said...

I have almost given Ilayaraja a God status :D ..

The 1983 film u mentioned should be pallavi anupallavi ? .. i have the kannada and telugu songs of that .. ask me if you want :D

I used to have this 'How to name it' and 'nothing but wind' audio casette with me at home .. when i was in school ... after coming to IIITH .. thanks to you i got the MP3s :)

Balakrishna Chennupati said...

Yeah it's Pallavi Anupallavi. Don't make it public that we were involved in an act of p_r_cy :p. But seriously I think Youtube and informal music sharing has kept a lot of music alive that is not currently available for sale.

Emjay said...


Enjoyed reading your post. I belong to your group. I write mostly about Raaja's music in my blog. You are welcome to

Anonymous said...

I am also a die-hard fan of Ilayaraja. Regarding the IDEA cellular composition, I guess that tune was composed way back in early 60s by a singer or band called ``Uria Hip''. The lyrics of the song are something like ...In those happy days og love ....".
But the way Ilayaraja blended it with our music is unparallel.


Anonymous said...

Ilayaraja is an ocean of music ideas, undoubtfully, we should feel proud as he is living in our period. Am glad to hear from Balakrishna for the admiration on Ilayaraja's music

Satyanarayana said...

Hey Bala thanks for the blog for Mastro Illayaraja. I am die hard fan for Illayaraja songs...

I have one request for u I want to know how many songs was sung by Illayaraja (if possible only in Telugu) I know only two songs one from cooli no 1 and another Ninu chudaka nenundalenu. please let me know if u have the list. this is for all Illayaraja fans..


Vignesh fusion said...

Hey I am using Maestro's Music app where all our favorite Ilaiyaraaja songs are compiled on his official mobile app. Get Maestro’s Music now for android and iOS on