Although, this article is late ( due to technical problems in the blog), it deserves the space in my blog. Moreover, the program will go on air in Jaya TV on the Pongal Day. So I felt, this is the right time to post.
Some are born great. Some achieve greatness but only a few in this world define greatness. Ilayaraaja is one of them.Some may ask, how a man, humbly clad in white dhoti and kurta with bald head can get in to the lives of millions just through his music. You would have deciphered the reason, if you had been to the “Endrendrum Raaja” concert organised by Jaya TV on December 28th, 2011
I had missed the previous concert that happened 6 years back. But this time I was sure, I am going to be there at any cost. So what’s the difference between this and other concerts?
Mostly Tamil music concerts are of low quality as they are done by music troupes. The high quality music concerts of play back singers are mostly performed with tracks and not live music. A performance by a complete orchestra needs days of preparation and planning. Raaja’s music is so complex that you need set of musicians to be on stage for a perfect performance.
It’s a treat to music fans when it’s Ilayaraaja performing live with his orchestra. And if the reports have to be believed, we had people travelling from US,UK, Malaysia and other countries just to attend the concert. The unbeatable fan following for Raaja was evident by the long queue that was gathering outside the gates 2 hours before the concert. We had the young followers with ilayaraja t-shirts, elders waiting to get in as soon as possible and people trying to buy tickets, if available. The rates went up to Rs.2000 for a Rs.500 ticket. After chaos and long queues, we settled down in a good place at around 5 PM. Restlessly munched popcorn and kulfis till the start.
How many musicians in the world can afford classical musicians from Hungary to do the opening gig for their concerts? Ilayaraaja can. His love for these musicians was evident throughout the concert and it was mutual. They had the same respect for Raaja and it expressed through their music dedicated Ilayaraaja. Yes, there would have been a few who was restless to see Ilayaraaja on stage but a music lover would have cherished the 3 wonderful music pieces from them.
It was a perfect setting for the God of music to enter. Thunderous applause coupled with standing ovation welcomed him to the stage. The smile that captivated his fans was back after his wife’s demise and he bowed in front of the audience while they reciprocated it. I can go in length and breadth about the songs that were performed in the concert but I need at least 100 posts like this for that. I would rather dwelve in the things I loved.
There was a clear focus in the concert unlike last time. The songs were predominantly from the 80s and the 90s that paved the way for the rise of Ilayaraaja. The focus was only on music and songs rather than people talking about Raaja. It allowed them to perform more songs. There was a video from Kamal and a short musical experience from Balki. Apart from that, a few anecdotes from Ilayaraaja, SPB and KJ
It was a treat if you are a fan of these legends. Most of the songs were performed by SPB, KJ, Raaja and Chitra. While KJ missed the rendering in most of the songs, his voice was mellifluous as ever. SPB was at his best, perfect renderings, interesting improvisations and lovely singing. It was heartening to see Chitra performing live after a long time. She lost her child to an accident last year. Hariharan’s performance of “Nee Partha Parvai” and “En Manavanil” was just brilliant. En Manavanil is too tough to perform on stage.
One mistake by KJ incidentally became a treat to the fans. He kept missing the second interlude of a song and Raaja insisted in playing it again and again until he picked it up rightly. It was very interesting to see how Raaja insists on perfection even to the senior singers. And the song was Poove Semboove – listen to the interludes you will understand.
The highlights of the day were two moments. The performance of Balamurali Krishna – Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran and Kaatukuyilu Manasukkulle by SPB -KJ. I bet everyone in the stadium would have got goosebumps listening to them. There were even some rare numbers like Yaar Thoorigai that even few fans would not remember. The selection of songs were simply brilliant that gave ample space for musicians to enthrall the audience. They were so perfect, especially the violins and the Veena. I was amazed to know that foot tapping in “Paruvame” (Nenjathai killathe) was indeed the thigh tapping of a percussionist. They performed it live !!! That’s the level of dedication and perfection they possess. They are one of the prime reasons for the success of Ilaiyaraaja. They deserve the standing ovation they got from the audience.
There were some specials too – if the Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai BGM was brilliant, the 2 note song was scintillating. Ilayaraaja explained how the first few lines of “Raja Raja” from Agni Natchathriam is an instance of two note composition. And surprised everyone by expanding that the first few lines of “Va va pakkam va” is an example of one note composition. If those things weren’t enough, a short piece of a symphony was performed too.
I consider Ilaiyaraaja as one of the greatest music composers ever to have made music in this world. Its not because of his ability to create such wonderful songs. It is because of his background scores that has enhanced the 100s of movies. Balki explained it with a clip and now you know why he famously said “I will make movie till ilaiyaraaja makes music for me”. He made a statement that every Raaja fan would cherish – “Raaja is the only music director in India”. I bow to you for that bold statement Balki. I hope others understand the real meaning of it.
The concert was just a small sample of songs from Ilaiyaraaja’s hits. But the concert showed the world, the dedication of a man who loves music more than anything else. He performed and conducted for 6 hours with a single 5 minute break. The concert showed the power of the man, whose hand wave can stop audience from making sounds. The concert showed the simplicity of the man, who smiles with humility when someone lavishly praises him (that too only facts). I could see him as the synonym of music. A man who takes immense pride in what he creates. His music has become a part in many lives. He is 900+ movies old, still he continues to create original music, when people are happily copying music from all over the world. I don’t think any music director can match the fan following he has. He is a cult. He is a healthy addiction. I am lucky to have born in the same era as his and enjoy his music. Raaja Sir, it was a honour to attend your concert.
Some of the songs performed are
1. Janani Janani
2. Amma endralaikatha
3. Naanaga Naanillai ( Dedicated to his wife)
4. Nee Partha parvaikku
5. Adhu oru nilakalam
6. Poove Semboove
7. Kannan oru Kai kuzhanthai
8. Aayiram malargale
9. Aayiram thamarai mottukale
10. Chinna Kannan
11. Kaatukuyilu Manasukkulle
12. Sundari Kannal oru seidhi
13. Naan thedum Sevvanthi poovithu
14. Idhayam oru koil
15. Raja Kaiya Vacha (performed by Yuvan)
16. Ninaivo oru paravai (performed by Yuvan)
18. En mana vaanil
19. BGM of Azhagarsamyin Kuthirai
20. Yaar Thoorigai