Tag Archives: ilayaraja

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!

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Music Review of Guru-Malayalam movie-Ilaiyaraja

20 Feb

In 1997, Maestro Ilaiyaraja composed music for a malayalam film called “Guru.” It had malayalam superstar Mohanlal in the lead role. The music of this movie was simply scintillating to say the least. The unique thing about this movie was that the orchestration was played by the famous Budapest Symphony Orchestra. So most of the songs were recorded in Hungary. This made the music even more magical. It had the following 5 songs:
1. Thatharam-This is my favourite song from this movie. It is sung by M.G.Sreekumar & Chorus. It starts with a beat sound created by a unique instrument and gradually becomes a full-fledged symphony song. the tune and the background music are just what a genius like Ilaiyaraja would compose.
2. Aruna Kirana Deepam-This song is considered to be one of the best songs ever in Indian cinema in terms of it’s mind boggling orchestration. It is sung by Padmashree K.J. Yesudas. Ilaiyaraja has used so many instruments in this song that when you hear them in unison, you will be transported to some other world.
3. Guru Sharanam-This is a classical based chorus song which is very melodious and it grows on you after continuous listening. It is sung by Venugopal & Chorus.
4. Devasangeetham-This song is another masterpiece composed like a symphony. It is sung by Yesudas & Jyotsna.
5. Minnaram Maanathu-This is a very melodious song sung by Sujatha. It has excellent violin pieces.
The best thing about this album is that each song is very different and covers almost all the genres like western classical, classical, light music etc. Though Ilaiyaraja has composed 3 songs in Western classical orchestration, each of them is different and great to hear. Any fan of music should not miss this soundtrack, after all it is composed by Ilaiyaraja.