Movie Reviews, Commentary & More

Ilayaraja Again

There are never enough posts in praise of Raja. Recently, a flautist friend of mine sent a bunch of Raja's background scores to another flautist friend of mine - and there I was, a fool of music, in his CC like an add-on. The list is varied: Valli, Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, Nayagan, Aan Pavam, Guna... I've heard them all before and was still moved listening to them again. But the dark horse that blew me away was Aranmanai Kili. For a movie set in village starring Raj Kiran, you'd never expect such grand pieces. Especially there's one gem which starts with beautiful violin chorus with a western flavour and then suddenly there's a flute that peeks. And this flute piece, which just totally swept me away threatening to bring tears, has a touch of village nativity appropriate to the situation and it seems like a miracle that the two styles blended so perfectly to create what I heard. As it happens, the flute piece plays the pallavi of the song 'Raasave unnai vida matten'.

Listening to some pieces from Aan Pavam I was reminded of Raja's supreme reign in the 80s. He again does some magic with a violin & a flute, bringing me images of Pandian & Seetha running into each other. One piece greatly captures the soft romance, that there are times when the heart is just waiting ready to be given away. Most of the 'melody' these days just play at a slower tempo. He reminds us that a melody should touch you, even if the music rolls at the pace of 'Valayosai' from Sathya.

I'll finish this post with his work for Guna. I think this is one of Kamal's greatest performances (and I like the screenplay too). Listening to some of the BGMs for Guna, I was reminded of how Kamal's work has been accentuated by Raja over the years. Had Kamal been assocaited with a lesser musician in his prime, I'm sure the emotional punch Kamal dealt to the audience (talk about Mahanadhi) would have been greatly reduced. And I'm not only talking of Kamal's serious works. Michael Madana Kama Rajan has a great background track and Raja should be included in the comedy quotient that's usually only assigned to Kamal & Crazy Mohan. The movie would be definitely less funny without Raja.

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9 Responses to “Ilayaraja Again”

  1. # Blogger Dr J Vijay Venkatraman

    Hi Prasad!

    That was a good article from an interesting viewpoint! Especially, I liked the lines "Raja should be included in the comedy quotient that's usually only assigned to Kamal & Crazy Mohan. The movie would be definitely less funny without Raja." Keep up the nice work!

    Yours Always Musically,

  2. # Blogger Suresh Kumar

    Prasad - I saw 'Athu Oru Kanaa Kaalam' this weekend. A very good movie. Wonder why it failed. Illayaraja has given some great background score pieces in this movie too.  

  3. # Blogger Prasad Venkataramana

    Thanks. Your profile page sure paints you as a die hard Raja fan. Will check them out sometime. Interestingly, Suresh Kumar, the other commentor here has a blog on music the way you signed-off.

    I think Raja always walks the extra mile for people close to him - like Raj Kiran, Kamal, Bala and in this case Balu Mahendra. I haven't seen the movie but I think Balu Mahendra has never had much success marrying art themes with commercial elements.  

  4. # Blogger Srikanth Dakshinamoorthy

    another surprise was the bathing scene in guna: very grand. transports me to a place beyond my normal imagination.  

  5. # Blogger ohmsdeeps

    Hi Prasad
    Nice to remember sweet melodies.
    The way Ilaiyaraja belends the western classic and indian folk is ultimately sensational.
    Since he learned the western music as a guitarist and loves that instrument through his heart,he scored some splendid guitar pieces in his compossing.

    O mane mane Mane (First interlude)
    Valaiyosai (Second interlude)
    Pani vizhum malar vanam (Begining score)
    Ilaiya nila (ofcourse the entire song)
    Mandram Vandha thendralukku
    Idhazhil kathai ezhuthum..

    and the list goes on..

    You are obsolutely right about Ilaiyaraja's part in getting the real feel of the emotions potrayed by not just Kamal but many contemporary actors.
    Some to mention
    Mouna raagam
    we cannot forget that youthful Piano score for Karthik related scenes
    and the beautiful shenoy piece for Mohan and Revathi related scenes.

    Apoorva Sagotharagal

    The heart touching sadness he brings in that Voilin score for Appu.  

  6. # Blogger Prasad Venkataramana

    Hear it with the visuals...

    Thanks for sharing some of your favorites.  

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    suresh, i know this is not polite but could it be that movies flop because you wait for SUN TV to telecast them rather than watch it in the cinema hall? :-)  

  8. # Blogger ohmsdeeps

    It would be great if you can write a column about the compare and contrast of some of our legendary film directors and current directors.
    Because as far as music is concern,
    I personally feel that though no one can replace the maestro but some our musicians are atleast on their way to becoming music legends in their own trend and style.
    But , Our Tamil industry is badly in need of good film directors and screen play directors because when we talk about good directors, we still have to go back in time and think about the triplets barathiraja, balachander and balu mahendra.
    I am amazed.  

  9. # Blogger Prasad Venkataramana

    I would write if I saw more Tamil movies. A few clippings I grab here & there don't invite me for a full viewing.  

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