In a monumental achievement which is equivalent to that of the almost-impossible hundred 100’s by iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, composer Ilaiyaraaja has just touched the 4-digit mark in respect of the number of films he has composed music for. Fondly referred to as ‘Isaignani’ by his fans around the globe, Ilaiyaraaja has reached greater heights in film music which his contemporaries can only dream of.
The only Indian to feature among the recent ranking (he was placed 9th) by a foreign organization which had picked word’s ‘best 25 composers’, Ilaiyaraaja’s upcoming musical Karakattam to be directed by Bala would be his 1000th film as music director. The Maestro, who debuted way back in 1976 with Bharathiraaja’s Annakili, has grown by leaps and bounds to be crowned as the country’s premier musician.
Prior to turning music director, Ilaiyaaraja had worked in over 200 films as music-conductor under his mentor G.K. Venkatesh. In the eighties, he scored music for 40 films per year on an average in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. His musical sojourn was in top gear in the nineties when, during a particular year, he composed music for 70 films, a mind-boggling feat which belies reality.
The simpleton that he is always at heart, Ilaiyaraaja doesn’t need scenic locations or the luxury of five-star hotels to compose music and doesn’t take weeks or months together like many of his contemporaries do. The spark which always burns in his heart doesn’t allow him more than a few minutes to compose an entire song. Bala, a known fan of the Maestro, is quite happy to be directing Ilaiyaraaja’s landmark 1000th film.
Let’s wish that the Maestro’s musical sojourn continues unabated for many more years!