In an exclusive interview with iFlickz, Ilaiyaraaja, the maestro opens up on his newly launched website, his likes and dislikes and life!

Nandhitha Ravindran

Heart is the best instrument: Ilaiyaraaja

The veteran musician Ilaiyaraaja launched his own website and YouTube channel here at Hyatt Regency on Friday. Speaking at the press conference Ilaiyaraaja said, “I am happy, pleased and excited to inform you that today I am launching my Official Channel and Ilaiyaraaja Official YouTube Channel.” He also promised to be more active on his Facebook page.

He calls it “official” only because there have been several unofficial pages under his name and laughs that he should be the man with the highest number of fake “official” channels. Not surprising considering that he has won the National Award four times and more importantly, his melodies have been a staple diet for many an ailing soul for the last four decades.

An official Ilaiyaraaja channel is a treat for his fans and music lovers. So, why now, we ask and he smiles, “there is so much of piracy under my name, are you saying I shouldn’t be starting my own channel and be quiet about the piracy?”

We smile back; the maestro is always good in surprising his fans (Think when he became the first Indian to compose the full symphony in London). What does the musical magician have up his sleeve now? “There are so many plans (for my website). We will have interactions. There will also be competitions for students who can choose their favorite songs of mine and re-picturise it. The best of the best will be awarded.”

Well, the website as we could see it today is a treasure trove of information on the isaignani (musical genius), provides lot of scope for interacting with the legend and also promises to explore music therapy!

1000 and going strong!

Heart is the best instrument: Ilaiyaraaja

His current projects will also provide an interesting mix of genres to his fans, he reveals, “There are so many. To name a few, there’s the bi-lingual Melliya Kodu and another crime drama titled Kutramae Thandanai (by Director Manikandan).” And of course there is also much buzz about Bala’s Tharai Thappattai which will be Ilaiyaraaja’s 1000th film!

Yes, 1000, you heard it right. His site reveals that he had managed to compose almost three songs a day for over 15 years (till the early nineties)! What a monumental journey this has been, even for a legend of his stature.

The next gen and its YouTube arsenal

Heart is the best instrument: Ilaiyaraaja

We ask him about the current generation of aspiring musicians using YouTube as a platform to showcase their work and the veteran nods, “They have to find their own way right? So they are doing it through YouTube.” So, does he like anything he listens these days and the composer shoots it straight, “I have no time to listen to those songs. Why I am not listening to other music is because, if I hear that song I should feel, “Wow, What a song, what a music!” and it should make me think as to how this idea never occurred to me. If that’s not the case, then there should be at least a small thing that I learn from it. Do you feel there’s any song like that? Then why should I listen?”

For someone who dislikes the marriage of technology and creation of music, we wonder what his favourite instrument would be, he smiles, “All the instruments are my favorite. But the heart, I feel, is the best instrument.”

Ilaiyaraaja is not only known for his outstanding music but also for his profound thoughts on God and life. What would be his philosophy for life, we ask.

“It shouldn’t be called philosophy. It should be called truth. And the only thing I live by is the truth!”

With that, we sign off to listen to another one of his masterstrokes playing in the background.