Music composer Ilaiyaraaja was on Thursday honoured with the second highest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, by the Government of India. Ilaiyaraaja has mainly composed for Tamil films but has also given music to various Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films. In a career spanning over four decades, the legendary composer has given music in over 1000 films.
Ilaiyaraaja has won five National Film Awards, three for Music Direction and two for Background Score. His last National Film Award was for the Tamil film Tharai Thappattai, which he won for background score. He is also an instrumentalist, singer and songwriter.
Ilaiyaraaja was inclined towards music from a very young age. The musician joined a traveling musical troupe when he was only 14 and spent a decade traveling through South India learning more about music. He first gave music for the 1975 Tamil film Annakkili and has given music for over 6500 songs. In 2010, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
Ilaiyaraaja’s musical style was noted for introducing Western style and combining it with Indian classical arrangements. Over the years, his musical style has been noted to influence a lot of new age composers like AR Rahman as he has often appreciated Ilaiyaraaja’s work.
With the Padma Vibhushan being awarded to such a legendary musician, it is indeed an honour for the film fraternity as it highlights his contribution to the world of Indian cinema.