Born and brought up in a small village in Theni district, Southern Tamil Nadu ,Ilayaraja became the first Asian to score a symphony for the London philharmonic orchestra. This legend had the love for music running through his veins right as he hailed from a musical family. Raja, learnt to play harmonium which was considered to be an ideal instrument for street music, and traveled across Tamil Nadu accompanying theater artists. This was the time when he slowly observed and understood audiences’ taste in music.
He later migrated to Madras (Chennai) where he learnt to play guitar and piano in western style. His first breakthrough film was Annaikili (1976), with which he caught the attention of millions. Although there were several other composers in the film industry at that time, the songs of the maestro definitely ruled out everything else. His name became the new musical identity.
His music made everyone feel as though words just glided through the breeze and into our hearts. His mesmerizing and soulful composition was not just admired in India but by foreign countries as well. His non-film albums such as “How to name it” and “Nothing but wind” stand as an evidence to this. His talent cannot be categorized into any particular genre of music as he ruled all genres like a king.
It is impossible to list out the best songs of this wizard of music since all his compositions are undeniably captivating. So we decided to list out 10 songs to which the maestro himself has lent his voice. Ilayaraja has an undeniable unique voice and we can’t imagine these songs sung by anyone else!
Thendral Vandhu Theendum Podhu
This song from the film Avatharam is one of those songs which one would wish to take along to their grave. This song has quite a story behind its composition. Did you know that this directorial debut of Nasser did not initially have any song sequence in it? But when the Nasser approached Ilayaraja, impressed by his brilliance, the maestro added his touch of excellence to the film.
An evergreen song from an evergreen movie, Nayagan!! One does not have to understand the words to get the feel of it. The composition and the visual of this song go hand-in-hand in filling our eyes with tears. A song which has such a sharp, strong impact on the listeners! Mani Ratnam and Ilayaraja made a great combo and all of their songs were a theatrical feast!
This song from the 1982 film Thaai Moogambhigai has been one of the most popular Tamil devotional songs ever since its release. It was one of those songs which played in every devotional gathering during the 80’s.
Un Kuthama en Kuthama
Yet another wonderful creation of the maestro which provoked the sense of pathos among listeners! This song from the film Azhagi, is about an undying love story. The protagonists are married to different people but share emotions of how fate decided to play in their lives.
Nila Andha Vaanathu Melae
One of the best item numbers composed by the “ God of music”. The beat of the song makes everyone irrespective of their age, wanna shake their leg. The composition is neither too fast nor too slow. The chorus of this song undoubtedly adds to the strength of the song.
A melody which wrapped people with its raw and beautiful rural touch! This song from the popular film “Karagaatakaran” is one of the best songs to listen to on a breezy evening. It certainly provides one with a sense of freshness.
One of the most popular songs of the 90s, which was hummed by all those who left their home-town for any random reason! It reveals the yearning of every man who understands the uniqueness of his birth place in a rather fun tone.
The sad version of this song is as popular as the happy one. The raw texture of his voice lets one have a rather soulful experience during the course of the song. Ilayaraja is one of those musicians who can bring you to tears with the depth of melody in their songs.
Enge Sellum Intha Paathai
A song which created a huge impact among the audience! This popular song from the super-hit film Sethu is undoubtedly a complete package of best lyrics, best tune and best voice. A complete treat!
Andha Vaanatha Pola
This song from the super hit film Chinna Gounder starring Vijayakanth is one of those songs which was in repeat mode during the early 90’s. Even to this day, music lovers have this one on their playlist on repeat!