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Azhagi Title Score: Heartwarming

9 May

Ilaiyaraja has given innumerable title scores for movies which have become like a textbook lesson for many other composers as to how they should handle background scores. It is quite difficult to pick which are his best BGM pieces among the 900-odd movies for which he has composed the BGM’s. Whatever be the situation or emotion: sadness, happiness, fear, chase, naughtiness, reunion, death, separation , you name it, Raja exemplified the emotion of the scene with his music score.

One particular BGM that has fascinated me from when I have heard it is the Azhagi title score which is a variation of the Oliyile Therivadhu song. This is where Ilaiyaraja shows his versatility by making the BGM sound very different than the song, though both are almost same. He adds such beautiful layers to the BGM that it almost melts your heart every time you hear it. The primary flute piece with the keyboard piece, backed up by the western classical violins/violas/cellos (playing fantastic counters) sounds so divine and pure. This piece is so wonderful, it definitely deserves a post for itself.


Title Music: My Favourites

3 Jun

Title music is an indispensable part of any movie though it has not got the importance it has deserved. It is the first thing that the movie viewer sees and hears and a good title theme music creates a great impression for a movie to begin with, irrespective of whether the movie is good or not! I thought I can pen down some of my favourite theme music pieces from different Indian movies, as many of them were very good. I might definitely miss some other may-be-better ones, do let me know through the comments section! Here you go:

  1. Mouna Raagam-Ilaiyaraja-I am quite sure many would remember this one first. Its a rage even today and it’s probably the most famous ringtone. It elevated the movie to a different level. Spellbinding stuff from Ilaiyaraja.
  2. Naayagan-Ilaiyaraja-Another awesome piece.
  3. Aboorva Sagotharargal-Ilaiyaraja-Starts very annoyingly but soon becomes a melodious, captivating flute and strings ensemble, only Raja can do this.
  4. Punnagai Mannan-Ilaiyaraja-This man will keep surprising us with his talent.
  5. Jeans-A.R.Rahman-Very catchy, peppy AND melodious, the brand of music that we have got used to from Rahman. This is the perfect piece to hum along.
  6. Bombay-A.R.Rahman-This is what made the Bombay movie complete—the Bombay theme, calling it brilliant would be an understatement! Naveen’s flute was nectarine.
  7. Rakshagan-A.R.Rahman-Another wonderful piece which was not noticed much, very majestic, grand! My college brass band played this LIVE and boy, it sounded heavenly! The beauty of any music is best demonstrated by playing it LIVE and this is the perfect example for that.
  8. Azhagi-Ilaiyaraja-Heartmelting version of the Oliyilae Therivadhu song, Ilaiyaraja can play a song’s instrumental version and YET make it sound absolutely new. Pure bliss!
  9. Parthiban Kanavu-Vidyasagar-I saw this movie only recently and the title music was stunningly impressive. I was not surprised as I never doubted that Vidyasagar had the talent to compose something like this.
  10. Anbey Shivam-Vidyasagar-The “Yaar yaar Shivam” piece, great work by Vidyasagar again.
  11. Padayappa-A.R.Rahman-A very catchy, mouth-organ piece, again Rahman treads the uncommon path and comes up with something very special.
  12. Taare Zameen Par-Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy-I have never found Hindi music BGM’s/theme pieces to be very impressive but this was definitely an exception. Stellar stuff from the trio.
  13. Kaakha Kaakha-Harris Jayaraj-A very macho piece, befitting the movie’s theme, good work by Harris.

Ilaiyaraja and Background Scores

22 Oct

One of the greatest contributions of Ilaiyaraja (apart from his songs in multiple languages) are his background scores (BGM’s) for movies, whose discussion would need a separate blog for itself! This is no exaggeration because if you see the movies where the maestro has scored music, you would notice that the movie “looks much better” because of the music. I can recount hundreds of scenes from movies where the music has taken the impact of that scene to a different level. You remove the music from the scene and the impact of the scene would not even be half of the original.
Making background music is no easy task. What makes IR special is that he gives equal importance to the background score as he gives to the songs. His BGM’s are not just a patchwork which is very common otherwise. Ilaiyaraja’s BGM’s are characterized by:

  1. Grand string arrangements-He has used 75 violins and an assortment of instruments you can think of.
  2. Unconventional instrument usage for scenes-In Shiva (Telugu) chase scene he used a mindblowing violin piece for the chase which sounded perfect for that scene. Who would think of using violin for a chase, normally we would use some percussion instrument!
  3. Great themes-The theme scores of Ilaiyaraja are so good that they can be released as a separate CD by themselves. The legend has used flutes, guitars, violins beautifully to create some immortal theme pieces. Case in point Mouna Ragam, Nayagan, Punnagai Mannan, Unnakagave Vaazhgiren and many many more.

Here is a totally incomplete, only-indicative list of movies which have some stunning BGM’s by the Legend.

  1. Kadhalukku Mariyadhai
  2. Pithamagan
  3. Mouna Ragam
  4. Anjali
  5. Mahanadhi
  6. Aboorva Sagodharargal
  7. Thalapathy
  8. Kaalapaani (Malayalam)
  9. Azhagi (what a masterpiece!)
  10. Aruvadai Naal

The list is endless and this is just for a reference. Ilaiyaraja’s music is an ocean, there are still so many hundreds of songs which I am discovering every now and then which reaffirm my faith that he is indeed the “composer of this century” as exclaimed by none other than Dr.Balamuralikrishna who himself is a legend! I don’t think there is any other composer who is so COMPLETE as Ilaiyaraja who has proven his mettle thro’ his songs, BGM’s and creating tunes in almost every genre of music!