All roads led to Nandanam YMCA Grounds on Sunday where maestro Ilayaraja rendered a live concert to a packed audience that included actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. The show, Ilayaraja 75, organised by Tamil Film Producers Council, was a nostalgic journey for Ilayaraja fans as he belted out his hit numbers from the late 1970s and 1980s. There were cheers, whistles and applause as Ilayaraja took to his harmonium and preformed non-stop for over four hours.
Here are some glimpses of the mega event
MANI MAGIC ON STAGE
Acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam and Ilayaraja rendered many a musical hit in the past. The show saw some hits being recreated on stage. When Mani Ratnam took the stage, Ilayaraja, in a funny tone, asked him, “Enna Mani Romba Vayasaiduchu Pola?”
The conversation that followed between the two was about Mani’s admiration for Raja. Interestingly, Ilayaraja’s elder son Karthikraja expressed his desire to see both legends come together for a movie soon and even asked Mani Ratnam to consider it.
The veteran music composer described how he turned a lyric writer with the song Idhayam Oru Koil in Mani Ratnam’s romantic drama Idhaya Kovil.
CHANTS OF MODI
Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan honoured Ilayaraja on the occasion. After garlanding him with a shawl, the Union Minister said, “It is a proud fact that the Union government headed by Narendra Modi took pride in honouring Ilayaraja with Padma Vibhushan.”
Expressing his love for Ilayaraja songs, Pon Radhakrishnan said, “I never fail to visit Raja on his birthdays and seek his blessing for he is a blessed soul.”
The event saw the likes of Telugu veterans Mohan Babu and Venkatesh besides music composer Devi Sri Prasad in attendance. Speaking on the occasion, Mohan Babu, said, “If New Delhi is the capital of India, Panniyapuram (where Ilayaraja was born) is the capital of music.” He rendered a poem in praise of Ilayaraja.
Music-lovers were left disappointed as there was no S P Balasubrahmanyam. SPB-Ilayaraja combo had come up with several thousand songs that are evergreen. Interestingly, it was Mano who crooned all hit numbers of SPB on stage yesterday. SPB and Ilayaraja are at loggerheads over royalty claims. Ilayaraja had sent a notice to SPB to sing all his songs on stage after getting his permission and SPB had stopped singing them on stage these days.
ALL THE WAY FROM HUNGARY
A symphonic orchestra with musicians from Budapest accompanied Raja on stage yesterday. Flown specially from Hungary, they took intense training for over a month and rehearsed all songs of Ilayaraja that were to be performed on stage. They expressed their admiration at the music notations and intricate compositions of the maestro.
PRANAMS TO HIS GURU
As the concert began, Ilayaraja called his guru and popular Carnatic musician T V Gopalakrishnan and honoured him. For his part, Gopalakrishnan said, ‘Ilayaraja is synonymous with music. He lives and breathes music.’
He expressed his admiration for the hundreds of songs composed by his protege.
FANS GO EMOTIONAL
The moment the show kickstarted with Janani Janani, ardent fans of Ilayaraja went emotional. There were tears flowing down the cheeks of a few and many gave a standing ovation to the maestro. They sang along with him and cheered every song.