Celebrating Maestro Ilayaraja: A Journey Through His Musical Genius4 min read

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No introduction is needed for the Maestro Ilayaraja, as his music provides a resounding introduction for him. His songs are not only all-time chartbusters, but what is extraordinary is that movie and music aficionados even recite his background music as songs. He breathed life into the work of several renowned directors, ensuring that his music not only underscored their work but also stood out on its own. This is indeed a rare feat.

In celebration of his birthday today, here are a couple of interviews featuring Ilayaraja, each accompanied by a brief summary.

Interviews Featuring Ilayaraja

Maestro Ilayaraja Interview in Telugu

In this interview, Ilayaraja discusses his exceptional energy and dedication to his work (from 22:34 to 25:00). He also talks about how lyrics flow into his tune and vice versa (from 06:40 to 09:05). When work flows, there is an infinite amount of energy.

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In another interview, RGV discussed Ilayaraja’s work. He explained that Ilayaraja perceived the students’ fight as a painful event, and this sentiment was reflected in his music.

Live Composing by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja | 50th International Film Festival of India Goa | Doordarshan

Once again, he picks up a unique theme of a lullaby as background score for a situation as narrated by Director Balki, where a son is headed to kill his father.

Ilayaraja’s career is a testament to the power of letting work flow seamlessly. His ability to immerse himself in his compositions and create music that resonates deeply with listeners is a true demonstration of the infinite energy that comes from a passionate and uninterrupted creative process.

The Magic of Flow in Ilayaraja’s Music

Ilayaraja’s work is a masterclass in the concept of “flow,” a state of complete immersion and engagement in a task. This state, often described by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, is characterized by an almost euphoric sense of focus and productivity. When Ilayaraja composes, he enters this state, channeling his creativity and energy into every note and melody.

In the Telugu interview, Ilayaraja speaks about how work becomes effortless and time seems to stand still when he is in the zone. This is evident in the way he seamlessly blends lyrics with tunes, creating harmonious compositions that transcend time. His dedication to his craft ensures that his music not only supports the narrative of the films he works on but also elevates the emotional impact of the scenes.

Ilayaraja’s Musical Influence

Over the years, Ilayaraja has worked with a plethora of directors, each bringing their unique vision to the table. His collaborations with directors like Mani Ratnam, K. Balachander, and Bharathiraja have produced some of the most iconic soundtracks in Indian cinema. His ability to understand and enhance the director’s vision with his music has made him an invaluable asset to the film industry.

In RGV’s interview, the director recalls how Ilayaraja’s music added depth to the emotional and dramatic moments in the film “Shiva.” The background score for the student fight scene is a prime example of how Ilayaraja’s music can convey complex emotions and elevate the narrative.

The Unique Themes of Ilayaraja’s Compositions

Ilayaraja’s versatility as a composer is evident in the wide range of themes he has tackled in his music. From soulful melodies to high-energy dance numbers, his repertoire includes something for every mood and occasion. His live composing session at the 50th International Film Festival of India in Goa is a testament to his creative genius. In this session, he composed a lullaby as a background score for a scene where a son is headed to kill his father, demonstrating his ability to find beauty in even the most intense and dramatic situations.


Ilayaraja’s career is a shining example of the boundless energy that comes from being truly passionate about one’s work. His ability to enter a state of flow and create music that resonates with audiences worldwide is a testament to his dedication and talent. As we celebrate his birthday, we honor his contributions to the world of music and look forward to many more years of his enchanting compositions.

Happy Birthday, Maestro Ilayaraja. Your music continues to inspire and energize countless fans around the world.

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