Happy Birthday Ilaiyaraaja: 5 Evergreen Melodies by the Music Maestro

Ilaiyaraaja is one of the most famous music directors that India has ever produced. The versatile music composer, singer, songwriter was born on June 2, 1943. From South Indian cinema to Bollywood, Ilaiyaraaja has spread his music magic in various movie industries. He has worked for Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi as well as English songs.

Ilaiyaraaja has been credited for composing more than 7,000 songs, with film scores for over 1,000 movies. He is also the first Asian to compose a full symphony at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. A gold medalist in classical guitar from Trinity College of Music, Ilaiyaraaja’s songs are timeless.

On his birthday, let’s revisit some of his most popular movie compositions:

Poovil Vandu Koodum

This song is from the movie Kaadhal Oviyam. The vocals were by S P Balasubrahmanyam and Poovil Vandu koodum was set in Mohanam raga.

Mudhi Mudhi Ittefaq Se

It is no co-incidence that R Balki chose Ilaiyaraaja to compose songs for his movie Cheeni Kum. The song Mudhi Mudhi Ittefaq Se was one of the original compositions of the movie and was sung by Shilpa Rao.

Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le

The music of the critically acclaimed Sridevi and Kamal Hassan-starrer Sadma was one of his high points. Ilaiyaraaja showed off his magic with the composition. One of the popular numbers was Aye Zindagi Gale Laga Le, sung by Suresh Wadkar.

Vaishnav Jana To

Vaishnav Jana To, the bhajan associated with Mahatma Gandhi, was adapted by Ilaiyaraaja for the movie Hey Ram. The song by Vibha Sharma went on to become a forever hit.


Ilaiyaraaja won the National Award for music direction thrice. One of them was in 1985 for the movie Sindhu Bhairavi. The song Paadariyen is sung by K S Chithra.

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