The 1960’s and1970’s generations of Tamil film aficionados had already been enjoying a golden era of Tamil film music, with the likes of song writers like Kannadasan and music directors like Viswanathan and Ramamurthy ruling the roost. Then, in 1976, came the song ‘Annakkili…’ - one is tempted to say with a bang, although the music itself was soft, melodic and truly folksy! What Ilaiyaraja heralded through ‘Annakkili ..’ was a unique fusion of western, Carnatic and Tamil folk music, a synthesis of tradition and modernity.

The song and the film of the same name made everyone look up. Since then for nearly 40 years, Ilaiyaraja has truly been the Raja of Tamil film music. His versatility is amazing: he is not just a music conductor, but, a song writer, instrumentalist and singer. He turned 71 in June this year and SIS decided to hold an event to celebrate it. The response was simply overwhelming, with nearly 200 persons of all ages, not just attending the event, but actively participating and singing.

SIS Rajadhi Raja 2014

The event started with a brief introduction by Purnima Chandrasekar followed by invocation ‘Janani Janani’ sung by Murali Arangasamy, who also anchored the whole event spectacularly.

Through the next 2 12/ hours, the audience were treated to some of the ever-green hit songs like Annakiliye Unnai Thedudhe, Idhu Oru Pon Maalai Pozhudhu, Putham Puthu Kaalai, Ethetetho Ennam Valarthen, etc., etc. The singers were of all ages, men and women, children and the old, and included Jayanthi Sundar, Aditya Nidamarthi, Ramki Krishnamoorthy, Indu Rajasekar, Karthik Kumar, Saranya Iyer, Deepa Krishnamachari, Shoba Raghavan Narayanan, Srini Balaji, Sangeetha Srini, Thanga Rekha, Vinita Harish, Sathish Duraisamy, Srilatha Vijay, Balaji Panchapakesan, Sowmya Shankar, Shankar Vasudevan, Meena Mothish , Mothish Babu , Srigeetha Sri and Jaiganesh Balasubramaniam.

It was not just songs. There was a medley of dance with various dance numbers by persons aged from 4 – 43, directed by Sathish Duraisamy and choreographed by Sahana Sathish. Little Shreyaa Ramadore was stunning, playing the Key-Board to some of the Isaignani’s greatest tunes. In between, there was a quiz program conducted by Gayathri Subramanian. 10 prizes were given away to those who answered them first correctly. The quiz and the event, was sponsored by Purple Dove – London’s leading Supersonic Fibre Optic Broadband Provider.

The grand finale was the sing & dance along, with the audience screaming and jumping up and down for Ilamai Idho Idho and Aasai Nooru Vagai where everyone sang and danced.

In the vote of thanks, the chairman of South Indian Society Natarajan Sundar, in particular, pointed out that the compere for the evening was truly ‘aranga-swami’, one who kept the entire audience spell bound!