Ilayaraaja Birthday: R Balki And Hariharan Honour The Music Maestro

Today marks Ilayraaja's birthday. On his special day, R Balki and Hariharan recall fond memories of the music maestro. Read on!

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Ilayaraaja Birthday: R Balki And Hariharan Honour The Music Maestro
Gnanathesikan, known to the entire world as Ilaiyaraaja has  composed more than 7,000 songs in nearly 200 films in Tamil Telugu and other languages. R Balki who is the only contemporary Hindi filmmaker who has coaxed Ilaiyaraaja to crossover from the South to  North Indian cinema in Cheeni Kum, Paa and Shamitabh  pays rich  tributes  to  his most favourite  music composer .

Speaking exclusively Balki says, “What are  my thoughts  on him? I don’t have thoughts on him. My thoughts are all about him. Like I always tell him he grows younger every year. That’s because his body composition is 98 percent music... 1.9 percent water .. and 0.1 percent everything else. Happy birthday,Music!!!!!”

Kamal Haasan who has had the privilege of working with  Ilaiyaraaja innumerable  times also had the rare privilege  of singing for the Maestro, and that too at just half an hours’ notice .It all happened in a flash. The team of the film Happi featuring Pankaj Kapoor in the title role was in Chennai to record  Ilaiyaraaja’s  composition titled Zindagi Dish written by Jaideep Sahni. Ilayaraaja was not getting what he wanted.The singer who was assigned to do the job wasn’t getting it right.


“Get me Kamal on the phone,” Ilaiyaraja commanded his assistant. Within an hour Kamal Haasan reached the recording studio in Chennai and in half an hour the ‘ditty’ deed was done. The song that Kamal Haasan  sang was for the Pankaj Kapoor starrer Happi which was a tribute to Charlie Chaplin.And Kamal Haasan is a diehard Chaplin fan. But the real incentive for rushing in where other professional singers tremble to venture was his ardent devotion to Ilayaraja.

When  I had  spoken to  Kamal Haasan after  the recording  said, “My respect for certain people goes beyond the work place.Shivaji Ganesan, K. Balachander and Ilayaraja are to me, idols.And if they call I run. As simple as that. Ilaiyaraaja to me is   the God of music. There’s nothing he can’t do." What Kamal  Haasan said 9 years ago remains true  even today. Singer Hariharan has just recorded the immortal lines of the  8th Century poet-thinker Saint Thirumangai Alvar as composed  by Ilaiayaraja.


Says  Hariharan, “I’ve recorded  innumerable songs  for Ilaiayarja Sir. His  spirit remains  unflagging. I just sang for him the 5,000 years old  scriptures by Saint Alvar." Almost for sure Ilaiayarja’s music will be remembered 5,000 years from now.




Image Source: Instagram/ilayaraja_forever,/ilayaraja_maestro varnam
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