This chaiwala is a die-hard Ilayaraja fan

Hari Narayanan

Chennai: Walk pass a tea shop at Kodambakkam High Road near Palmgrove Hotel, you can hear maestro Ilayaraja’s songs being played there.

Take a step inside, you will be welcomed with rare black and white photographs of the music composer. What more? Images of those who worked with him from Panchu Arunchalam to Vairamuthu to SP Balasubrahmanyam find a place there.

Speaking to News Today, Hari Narayanan, a die-hard Ilayaraja fan, who owns the tea stall, says, ”This is my way of paying tribute to the ace music composer. I believe life is incomplete without listening to his compositions. They are divine. Even the romantic and peppy numbers that he composed have an spiritual aura in them”.

A resident of Mugappair, Hari Narayanan, says, ”I was born in Sowcarpet. In 1970s, film music meant only Hindi songs. Came Ilayaraja with Annakili  in 1976 and things changed. People made a beeline to listen to his compositions. Annakili changed the fate of Tamil film music. My admiration for Ilayaraja began since then”.

”I have vast collection of Raja’s songs – several thousands to say. Just one listen, I can say who wrote it and who sang it. I can sing along any number. My day begins with his songs and ends with his compositions. There is a song for every emotion in our daily life. Such has been his greatness”.

Hari Narayanan, adds, ”When I started my tea shop, I came up with the idea to pay tribute to my favourite composer. Pictures from the early days of Ilayaraja to today, lyricists and singers who worked with him find a mention in my wall here.”

”We have plenty of music composers today. All are talented. But Ilayaraja was a real exception. When youngsters today can hardly do five films a year, we saw Ilayaraja working for five films a day and all songs went on to become chartbusters. Quality and quantity went hand-in-hand”, he adds.

My shop has become a gathering for Maestro’s fans. They come here, sip a cup of tea with some good music and feel relaxed when they leave, he says.

Ask him his favourite among those who worked with Ilayaraja, Hari Narayanan, says, ”Though I admire all, I have a special place for singer Jensy. She hardly sang over 30 songs for Ilayaraja. But all were soul-stirring and excellent”.

He winds up saying, ”I wish to meet the legend and spend a few minutes with him”. A genuine wish from genuine fan.

Hari Narayanan can be contacted at 80159 32859.

M BHARAT KUMAR