Tag Archives: background score

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!