One of the greatest music composers, Ilaiyaraaja turns 77 today. He is credited with introducing Western musical sensibilities in the Indian film musical mainstream. The musician has composed more than 7,000 songs, provided film scores for more than 1,000 movies and performed in more than 20,000 concerts. On his 77th birthday, we are here to tell you one interesting trivia.
He composed Kadhalin Deepam Ondru from the Rajinikanth-starrer Thambikku Entha Ooru (1984) on a hospital bed. Yes, Ilaiyaraaja was indisposed with an illness during the film’s production. The movie’s producer, Panchu Arunachalam, had launched Ilaiyaraaja’s career with Annakili in 1976. He was in a big problem with his hospitalisation. The sets were ready, and the crew was waiting for Ilaiyaraaja to deliver his tunes. However, the doctors didn’t allow him to work. So, he whistled the tune from his hospital bed and wrote down the notes for orchestration. This was revealed by Rajinikanth himself at a public event.
Kadhalin Deepam Ondru, based on the Charukesi raga, was a difficult song to compose. The fact that he was able to compose the song from a hospital bed proved his dedication and his knowledge of Western musical orchestration.
In an interview to The Hindu, he spoke about his initial days as a composer. He said, “In my imagination, music was very different from how songs were done professionally in the film industry. I spent a lot of time learning that. When I did Annakili (1976), it turned out okay... but after that, I wasn’t able to grasp how music was being made for films. I was a little afraid that musicians in the industry would write me off. The 12 films that followed were based on how film music was being made at that point. After that, a new wave of films came, and the kind of music I wanted to explore fit in that space.”
Well, we wish the master musical a very happy birthday.
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