Ilayaraaja – the uncrowned King of Indian Film Music!
Ever since my childhood, I had a keen ear for music. I wasn’t much of a musically talented kid! I used to sing, I still do (much to the dismay of my room mates) in the bathroom (so what’s new!!). I did go to classical music classes, for about an year. Anyways, the point being that since my childhood days, I would be significantly attracted to music, especially soft lilting, melodious tunes that would stream forth from the radio, every morning at 8:15 during the “nandana” program on vividh bharathi. There were particular songs that always had my rapt attention, especially from movies “nanna neenu gellalaare”, “Pallavi anupallavi”, “Geetha”, “janma janmada anubandha” and the likes.. all these songs had one thing in common – The music score by Ilayaraaja.
IR’s music has such distinct features as compared to a lot of his contemporaries, which is what has established him in such strong foothold for nearly 4 decades. I guess he studies the mood of the song and understands its context before he composes the BG score for them. How else can one explain the stricking befittance that each score offers to the listener and viewer alike! The classical touch, the use of symphony and the repertoire of raagas and swaras that flow so mellifluously characterizes the music of IR. If one listens to the songs of “Bhoomi geetha” a wonderful movie in kannada, one can relate to the aforementioned statement.
My other favorites of his include several telugu movies – Abhinandana, Coolie No 1, Saagara sangamam, Swathi Mutyam, etc.
As gigantic his niche is, in the film music world, so also gargantuan is his stature in the private albums. Worthy of mention is the instrumental series, “India 24 hours“, “Nothing But wind“, etc. I can barely think of any music director so versatile and articulate in his work! An ingenious prodigy, a master of melodious, euphonious music! IR Rocks!!