Rewind with Ilaiyaraaja: Praise from a legend

Ahead of the upcoming Ilaiyaraaja concert, Isai Celebrates Isai, the Isaignani, in this column, reflects on an old photo of his from the TNIE archive.

Published: 20th May 2019 01:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2019 01:16 PM   |  A+A-

Ilaiyaraaja with MS Viswanathan

Ilaiyaraaja with MS Viswanathan

Express News Service

'Viswanathan sir and I worked together for Mella Thirandhathu Kadhavu, and I remember him kissing my cheek several times in admiration while we were composing for it. But I remember exactly where this photo was taken. MS Viswanathan anna wanted to erect a statue for Kavignar Kannadasan after his demise. So, he gathered musicians like KV Mahadevan, TK Ramamoorthy, and myself, and conducted concerts in three districts across Tamil Nadu to collect funds for it. Our first concert happened in Salem, and when I was called out to perform Kanne Kalaimaane from Moondram Pirai, MSV anna asked whether he could play the harmonium. I was overjoyed and accepted his request at once, and we began to perform. When we played the line, ‘Oomai enraal oru vagai amaithi, aezhai enraal athil oru amaithi,’ I noticed that he was moved and shed tears. After the song got over, I went to him. He hugged, and kissed my cheek. He said, "Enna madhri music panni iruka nee? Epdi indha madhri idea unaku varudhu? Idhu madhri laam vera yarukum varaadhu." Both MSV anna and Kavignar Kannadasan are trailblazers of Tamil cinema; nobody can forget their contribution to music.'

(As told to Navein Darshan) 

(This story originally appeared on



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