Ilayaraja (born 2 June 1943) at Pannaipuram in southern Tamil Nadu turned 75 today. The composer from a village has gone on to conquer the world stage as the king of music, with thousands of fans not just in the southern states but even abroad
· Beginning with Annakili, Rasaiya turned Raja continues to work to this day, even after achieving over 1,000 films and 6,000 songs in various languages.
· Ilayaraja is not just prolific, he maintains the highest standards of quality, innovation and virtuosity, whether for a big budget film or a low budget film with a new director.
· Widely regarded as the greatest Indian music composer in re-recording, Ilayaraja made it a fine art. Directors like Balu Mahendra, Bala, Bharatiraja and Mahendran depended on Raja for his re-recording which breathed life into a film.
· Ilayaraja also sang a large number of songs, and even wrote lyrics. He was famous for his Venbaas, even earning the praise of veteran Vali.
· Raja introduced many new singers to the Tamil Nadu film world. Music lovers in Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka vied with fans in Tamil Nadu in extolling his music which knew no boundaries. The few films that he composed music for in Hindi drew high praise of his musical contributions. As in the film Sadma, re-make of Moondram Pirai, as also for recent films of Amitabh Bachchan directed by Balki.
His symphony, though not marketed, drew appreciation of even maestros abroad.
· He bagged five Indian National Awards including for background score, and the highest national honour in the form of Padmashri and Padma Bhushan.