Composer Ilaiyaraaja was felicitated by the stars of Indian cinema on January 20, to mark his 1000th film score.
The audio of Shamitabh (directed by Balki, and starring Dhanush and Akshara Haasan) was also launched at the event which took place in Mumbai.
Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan were some of the stars in attendance, apart from Sridevi and Boney Kapoor, Jaya Bachchan, Shruti Haasan and Tabu.
While Kamal Haasan began by saying that he knew Ilaiyaraaja would ‘achieve this milestone when the maestro composed his 786th score’ for his film, he also added that 10 percent of Raaja’s compositions were for his movies.
Balki then cleared the air. Shamitabh is not Ilaiyaraaja’s 1000th film score, he said. “Let me clarify one thing, Shamitabh is not Ilaiyaraaja’s 1000th film. He will reach the milestone with Bala’s upcoming Tamil film Tharai Thappattai. We are here to celebrate that…1000 is just a number. We don’t need any excuse to celebrate Raaja sir.”
Amitabh Bachchan, who has rendered a song in Shamitabh (with music by Ilaiyaraaja) declared that ‘Ilaiyaraaja’s music brought out the best in him’. “I am not a trained actor and I came in this industry accidentally. Without your [Ilaiyaraaja] music I don’t think I could have come this far. It’s been 15 years now and every day is full of your music. Every shot is full of your music. I draw my emotions from your music. Thank you Raaja sir for everything,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rajinikanth recalled his experience of working with the maestro. “I know Raaja sir from early ‘70s. He was a very naughty and mischievous person at that time. We both used to gossip and used to have our drinks together till morning. And suddenly, I saw a transformation in Raaja sir which extended to his dressing style. And then I started calling him Raaja swami. He is a saint now and mata Saraswati lives in him.”
Later, Amitabh Bachchan, Shreya Ghoshal, Dhanush and other singers performed at the event. Dhanush, who also spoke about entering the film industry “accidentally”, rendered two of Ilaiyaraaja’s popular songs – Naan Thedum Sevandhi Poo and Thenpandi Seemaiyile.
Source: The Hindu, India Today