Interstellar

By now, I have lost count of number of times I have watched this movie. And somehow I cannot resist myself going back to watch this one whenever I get a chance. I saw this again in the theatre (thanks to Jazz Cinemas to bring this back in IMAX). When the movie was released, there were lot of discussions about how close the movie was with respect to the science of Interstellar travel. And even the scientific community went crazy about the visualization of the wormhole and the Gargantua (the black hole). Apparently Kip Thorne, the renowned Physicist provided the math and the special effects team turned that math visually (and here we are calling Shankar as India’s sci-fi director, India’s James Cameron and all!!!)

Beyond all the science and the fiction in the movie, I went back to this movie multiple times because of how “emotional” this movie is. Towards the end of the movie, Murph (the grown up one trying to solve the equation), hugs her brother and says “Daddy’s gonna save us!!!” after looking at the data being passed through the watch given by Cooper.

inter-daddys-gonna-save-us

To me, that was the defining moment in the movie, even though it comes towards the end of the movie. It’s that love between the daugther and the father that really makes this movie so good and so different. She has always been so connected to her father that she could feel something in that room!!! Cooper, on the other hand, always wants to go back to his kids (I think its just Murph, he doesn’t care a damn about his son :)) and has always prioritized that before everything else. Every decision that he makes in the mision (including choosing Dr.Mann’s planet which causes less time delay vs Dr.Edmunds which is closer to the black hole) is backed by some data and more importantly the urge to go back to his daughter.

There are so many such examples throughout the movie. Take for instance the scene where Cooper leaves on his car to get on to the mission without able to convince Murph enough. He lifts those clothes on the passenger side of the car to check if Murph is hiding inside.

inter-cooper-checks-murph

Or the scene where Cooper comes back from Miller’s planet having wasted 23 years, plays all the video messages from his kids and starts crying – I literally cried along!!!

inter-cooper-crying

 

The scene where Cooper is trapped inside the Tesseract and goes back to the timeline of him walking out of Murph’s bedroom when Murph is showing that she deciphered the ghost saying as “Stay”. Cooper, caught behind the bookshelf, cries “Make him stay Murph”, “Dont let me leave, Murph!!!” and keeps crying helplessly. My heart was so heavy by this time and may be I cried again in the theatre!!!

inter-stay

What about the dialogues?

Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.” – has such a deep connect with every parent and Cooper was literally Murph’s ghost in the bookshelf 🙂

Love is the one thing that transcends time and space” – Amelia says this in the ship and explains how she has a connect with Dr.Edmunds who is somewhere out there and she doesn’t even know if Dr.Edmunds is alive or not. All of us have some kind of connect with people who have passed away!!! While the NASA folks in the movie explained it as a gravitational anamoly and how gravity can transcend space-time, a layman like me do not understand all these. However, how brilliant it was of Nolan to translate that into something like “Love” which all of us can instinctly understand!!!

The very scene where Cooper plays 23 years of video tapes, he is listening to updates from his son. The last message from his son goes something like “You are not listening to this. Aren’t you. All these messages are just sent into darkness“. While it just sounds fairly logical, there is this deep aspect of human lives in it. Isn’t it? How many times have we looked up the sky and spoken to lost loved ones. We do want to talk to them and be connected only to come back in time and realize that it was just meaningless. Something that we just spoke to someone who didn’t exist anymore and was just sent into a void!!!

I love Nolan’s movies for this emotional aspect of his movies. Beyond the fiction and the larger than life aspects, almost every movie that he has made has this emotional aspect that connects so deeply with the audience. If you think of Inception, Dark Knight series, the emotional aspect runs throughout these movies. And its probaby the reason why I would consider Nolan as one of the best directors of our time. Spielberg used to do it – I cried for E.T as a kid 🙂 But in the recent times, and the times when I had the maturity to understand movies deeper, I would say Nolan does it better for me these days!!!

I would keep going back to Interstellar, Inception, Dark Knight series – I don’t think I will ever be “done” with these movies in this life. And if at all, “they”, the fifth dimension people choose me, I request them to fill the Tesseract with these movies

Kadhal Oviyam | Alaigal Oivadhillai

The song in itself is kind of composed as a fusion. A fusion between carnatic and western depicting the situation – a couple from two different caste falling in love. The song starts off with a fusion between a vedic recital and a church coir. However, what was super interesting to me was the interlude 2 in the song.

A base Guitar is supported right from the beginning of the interlude till the end. The interlude starts off with a vocal (like sung in a coir). While the vocal is being sung, a bunch of Voilins start supporting them in the background. At around 0:16, a Veena starts playing and that’s when the fusion really starts to blend in. As the Veena continues to play, the support from the base Guitar continues bringing in the fusion. And then, two sets of Voilins take over. One in the foreground receiving ample support from a bunch of Voilins in the backround along with Cello/Double Base.

I have listened to the Veena/Guitar fusion portion and the Voilins that follow countless number of times. There is no complexity in the composition. Not like 8 layers of music that we are used to these days. A Veena and a Base Guitar. Every one of those countless times I have listened to this, it instantly a sense of aweness and some eternal connect. Something that you cannot describe. Something that I get only from Ilayaraja’s compositions.

I saw this movie may be 25 years ago and didn’t really appreciate it. Never bothered to see it again. But the movie in itself was one of the top rated Tamil movies bagging a lot of awards. And of course the album is still hugely popular. I guess “Aayiram Thamarai” and “Putham Pudhu Kalai” (which was recently reproduced digitally for “Megha”) are popular amongst fans. But “Kadhal Oviyam” still stands out to me for its beautiful composition, the fusion it brings and of course great singing by Ilayaraja and Jency.

Vetri Nichayam

I think this is easily the best “inspiration” song for me. Every other time I stumble upon this song, it instantly lifts off my mood and inspires. And I definitely listen to this song more than once. I am fairly confident that for many people who grew up in the 80s “Annamalai” is one of their all time favorites – definitely for Rajini fans.

As the music starts off in Vetri Nichayam, you can instantly imagine the conversation between “Vinu Chakravarthy” and “Rajini” just before the start of the song. The scene cuts into the next one where the banker (who had originally rejected Rajini’s loan request) provides the money due to pressure from “Vinu Chakravarthy”. Till this moment it’s no big deal. These are some of the typical scenes that has appeared in umpteen Tamil movies. It’s the cut that happens now and the next scene that unfolds in front of us.

Rajini gets up from a chair. The camera starts zooming into his eyes. For about 3 seconds, Rajini stares at the camera with a look. Instantly he gives a look that has a mix of vengeance, the war that he is going to unleash on his best friend. The music (one of Deva’s best) is absolutely lifting the scene. It’s a little wonder if it’s simple writing of Suresh Krishna, or the music or Rajini – I would personally attribute it to Rajini. He just takes over that scene. Anybody would miss this one – just watch Rajini’s reaction when he smashes the coconut at the beginning – he shows the vengeance, the “veri” there. These are the small moments that shows Rajini’s acting, his involvement in the script – though for us his walk is just enough. 

The song has very powerful lyrics that instantly connects with you when you feel that you were taken for a ride, feeling low in life or just feeling helpless. While the lyrics are powerful enough, you got to give due credits to SPB on this one – It is the singing by SPB that takes it to a completely different level. The emotions that he brings in his singing is simply mind blowing – just listen to the way he sings “Raththamum Vervaiyum enadhu raajaangamae…” and “Adaee Nanba…”

And the “WOWness” in this song wouldn’t be complete without this – Rajini’s walk at “Enadhu nadaiyil unadhu padaigal podi padumae”. I mean, literally he just walked. The director would have probably said “Sir, neenga nadandhu vareenga…” and Rajini would have just walked. But look at what has transpired on screen and the impact that it creates on you – the goosebump moment that only Rajini can create. Hence the Super Star 🙂

Go ahead. Watch this one. A few times. Get inspired. Do not miss 4:07.

Vada Chennai

As the end credits rolled over and I started walking down the stairs to exit the theatre, I had a “wierd” feeling. I wanted to probably stay for a few more mins till the credits completed to “consume” the movie completely. But at the same time I felt there was something missing in the movie that wanted me to start walking out. When I reflect after a day now, I think I would probably say this: Vada Chennai is a tipping point for Tamil Cinema and would even go one step further and say “Tamil Cinema has arrived”.

I had always felt bad that I was not old enough when directors like Mani Ratnam and Balu Mahendra were young enough making movies like Anjali, Nayagan, Moondram Pirai that fundamentally changed the movie landscape back in late 80s and early 90s. I missed seeing those movies in theatre (I was just old enough to watch Mowgli in DD :)) and I still imagine what it would have been to be immersed in those movies for 3 hours in a theatre. With Vada Chennai, I now have a sense of satisfaction that I am witnessing that fundamental change again. And I can imagine 30 years from now, someone is going to say “How I wish I was in the times when Vada Chennai and Vetrimaran was happening”.

Towards the middle of first half, I felt I was completely lost. The narrative was non-linear and I was wondering where all these are going and if I came to another “hyped” movie. It was in the second half I realized what Vetrimaran was doing – he was laying out a vast landscape in front of us and beautifully connected everything in the second half. That’s when you feel that there was not even a single shot that existed in the movie without a reason. That’s when you pause for a moment and you are not able to digest how he would have written all of these and what would have gone through in his mind. And suddenly the respect for this writer just goes up manyfolds. He is different, a great thinker and a great writer and is slowly changing the landscape of Tamil cinema.

Another reason why I feel that we are witnessing a tipping point in Tamil cinema is because of the “A” certificate for the film. Unlike every other Tamil cinema which looks for a “U/UA” certificate for producer’s tax benefits and attracting famil audience, here’s a movie which is for the Adults (I would rather say “grown ups”). Hats off for the production house (Dhanush in this case) for not comprimising on this one – this movie will not have certain type of audience and the producer/director is OK with it and its a big deal today.

Beyond the producer/director, I have huge respect for the censor board on this one. You typically get a U/A for uttering a “cuss” word (which also gets muted) or showing a murder scene with blood/body blurred. However in Vada Chennai, the opening scene itself had enough explicit blood (and I think I saw skin too) that indicated that this movie is definitely “A”. And then you hear the characters frequently using a cuss word that refers to mother. It’s when the female lead uses the same cuss word (I think it’s the first or second word she utters in the movie) you settle down and accept the fact that this movie is going to be a different experience altogether. Btw, the audience (including me) went crazy when she said that word 🙂 And just to be clear, I am not celebrating citation of cuss words in mainstream cinema just for the sake of it. But what was more satisfying was that here’s a movie which did not compromise anything.

Dhanush: Let me admit this. When I he did movies like “Sullan”, I was like “Here’s an example of what industry background can do. If you have money, you can back anybody and make them a star”. But as he did movies like Kadhal Kondaen, Pudhupettai and later Mayakkam Enna, there were signs about his potential. But I was thinking it as more like the “Selvaraghavan” effect. With Aadukalam and commercial ones like VIP, it really showed up that this guy has some genuine talent as an actor. And Vada Chennai, really brings that talent out. There are many scenes where he has pulled off effortlessly. Specifically, the scene where Kishore’s wife and Samuthrakani’s wife (Andrea) have a conversation in a family function about revealing the identity of the person (Dhanush) who stabbed Kishore. Dhanush is in the backdrop and figures what’s actually going on around him. He has no dialogue and just silently emotes. That was just enough. I would watch that scene many times over; what a true performance that was.

It isn’t that I don’t have complaints about this movie. One of my major complaints is about the length. I felt the movie “rushed” things. With a running length of close to 3 hours, it still wasn’t enough to consume the movie. For example, there were so many characters introduced in the jail episode that you didn’t have time to put all of them in your mind. Similarly in the second half when things are explained by Andrea, it was rushed (with pretty bad dubbing too). I wish this movie had another 30-45 minutes of runtime (Vetrimaran says it was originally shot for 5.5hours!) like GodFather. I am sure Vetrimaran would have loved too but had to remain within the constraints of theatres (they need to run 4 shows with breaks and all). May be in near distant future, someone will break this too.

I and my friend are great fans of Martin Scorcese and Tarantino movies and the collaboration he had with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Leonardo Di Caprio. We had always discussed how Scorcese and De Niro would have collaborated, what it would have been between them, how it would have been in the sets. Well, I didnt live in those times, but I think they changed Hollywood movies forever. I think Vetrimaran + Dhanush + Kishore combination is doing something very similar for Tamil movies now. Something tells me that this is a beginning of a different era where movies that are “raw”, that doesn’t even have one wasted scene, that does full justification for the script are going to be made. We are going to respect the writers more than the actors. And sense will prevail in the movies. And personally, I am going to go back to theatres more 🙂

Nalam Vaazha | Marupadiyum

For any Ilayaraja fan, this song definitely would be in the top list. The movie itself is a emotional one (one of my favorites of Balu Mahendra) and this song is pretty emotional too. During those tough moments in life, you can easily fall back to this song to get some emotional support. The song has some beautiful and very powerful lyrics. While the first stanza kinda focusses on how people could change over time and you should just move on, the second focusses more on how things can be better in future.

Viralgalai thaandi valarndhadhai kandu
Nagamgalai naamum narukkuvadhundu

Kadalgalil uruvagum alai aanadhu
Vizhuvadhum pinbu ezhuvadhum iyalbanadhu

It’s as if a friend is around you consoling that things would be better from now on (may be I get that feeling because of the long lasting impact of the picturization of this song)

Interlude 1

While the song in itself is so good, here’s the first interlude.

I am not going to go in to the details to describe this one. I think it’s kinda self explanatory. It’s a simple flute & voilin combo. The best part of this interlude is, it just doesn’t interfere or change the tone of the song very much. It just continues the soothing effect (the friend consoling you) which was the premise of the song in itself.

Interlude 2

This one is no different in terms of the simplicity – instead of a flute + voilin combo this one is a guitar + voilin combo. Starts out with a simple guitar composition but when the voilins start, you kinda get a chilling effect in your spine. And these are played as pretty long strokes – putting the intensity in you slowly so that it leaves a long lasting impact on you.

I am sure you have the entire song in your collection. Go ahead. Play the song in your headphones. Take that lonely walk. Lie flat and look up to the skies. You are bound to do some soul searching.

Engirundho | Brahma

Well the movie Brahma doesn’t need any introduction to tamil movie lovers. Specifically Goundamani fans. The movie is a riot with Goundamani as Valayapalayam Chinnasami creating rousu in almost every scene he is in. Who can forget the “Mother Superior…Suppariya paaku poduvangala..?” scene which ends with Sathyaraj unable to control laughter even in the final cut that got released in theatres. While that’s the first thing that everyone gets reminded about Brahma, the movie had one beautiful composition as well. The song “Engirundho Ilankuruvi…”. There are two versions of this song – a female version sung by Janaki and is the introductory song for Kushboo in the movie and a male version sung by S.P.B. This post is about the latter.

Prelude

This is one of the few songs of Ilayaraja which has a beautiful prelude.

The prelude is just a simple arrangement of a Piano at the foreground and bunch of violins in the background. The piano starts the prelude and quickly a bunch of violins follow around 6 seconds. Around 10 seconds, the Cello joins them and the emphasis starts on the Cello. If you relate this to the scene, the time when the Cello plays is when the heroine gets shocked on the tune that is being played and clearly the Cello is used to emphasize that. The prelude alternates between the Piano and the Violins to alternatively depict the tune played by the hero (and what Kushboo had heard when she was a child) and the shocking moment of recollection of her memories.

Interludes

Here are both the interludes:

 

Both the interludes use one of the highly underrated aspects of Ilayaraja’s music – chorus. He uses chorus in songs and also in BGMs (remember the scene in Nayagan when Kamal loses his wife from the balcony and the scene where he sees his son’s body from the same balcony?). These interludes also use chorus extensively to convey the intensity of the flashback scenes. The first interlude starts with the chorus playing a longish “Aaaaah…” with very simple use of trumpets. And it is this chorus which occupies most of the first interlude.

The first one to me is just another Ilayaraja affair. But it is the second one which I am big fan of. The first 10 seconds are just a standard guitar/drums/trumphet combinations that is widely used by many composers and isn’t such a big deal. But just give a close listen around 13 seconds when the trumphets finish off. You will hear a bunch of voilins at the background adding to the emphasis and around 19 seconds is when the magic starts unfolding. A chorus of “Ha ha haa haa ha ha…” sung at a base tone adequately supported by the Cellos starts. This is pure magic created by simple use of Chorus that creates a profounding impact on the listener. The chorus instantly communicates an intense situation in the song which is later shot as a scene where the child is in danger of getting killed by the villains.

Obviously, we may not appreciate this when we listen to this separately. The impact of the effect is realized when you see it along with the picturization. Most people appreciate Ilayaraja for BGMs. While composing BGMs the composer would have seen the footage, would have understood the entire scene and then composes the BGM (I am nowhere under estimating Ilayaraja here btw). Where it blows my mind is this: these are interludes, which are present in songs that are composed before the scenes are shot. The composer has the opportunity to listen to what the director describes as a scene and has to come up with something as powerful as these. I think this is where Ilayaraja the genius really shines – the ability to grasp what the director imagines as a scene and comes up with a song that becomes a classic of its own. And those times were his peak where he would have recorded an entire movie’s songs in couple of days.

Go ahead and see the song again in YouTube (linked below) to get the impact. Did search quite a bit for a good resolution video with a good audio but this is what I could manage to find:

Ennullae…Ennullae… | Valli

Well, I am not a fan of this particular movie even though it had Superstar in it (who wrote the script and screenplay). I remember the hype around the movie as it was written and produced by Superstar, Latha Rajinikanth had sung in the movie (and guess she composed a song as well). It bombed in the box office!! But it had one beautiful song composed by Ilayaraja. “Ennullae Ennullae” is such a beautiful song and an emotional one sung by Swarnalatha (How I wish she had sung more and lived longer!!). While the song captivated me the very first time I had listened to it back in the 90s, I got even more addicted to it very recently due to the composition of the interludes.

Interlude 1

As a bunch of violins start, there is a gentle play of either a Cello or a Double Bass in the background. And around 11 seconds when the violins in the foreground starts peaking, the background starts getting filled with those taps of Cello/Double Bass. The flute joins them. And around 28 seconds all of the come together. The Cello/Double Bass give a wonderful finish to the composition. Yet another brilliant composition. The best part is, these compositions were done in the the digital/stereo era and we are now able to hear the nuances of the composition very well (unlike the ones he composed in 70s and 80s which were recorded in mono)

Interlude 2

This one is as good as the first one. The pattern is just awesome – a few violins start and as they hit towards the end of their portion, the Cello/Double Bass further extends by playing like a quick “Sine Wave”. A long Sine Wave by the violins followed by a short Sine Wave by the Cello/Double Bass 🙂 This gets repeated twice. Around 12 seconds, as the violins hit the peak, the gentle taps on the Cello/Double Bass happen just like Interlude 1. A Trumpet/Shehnai type vocal instrument joins to give a perfect finish to the composition.

To me, both the above compositions are definitely in the levels of “Symphony Orchestra” that gets immensely appreciated. These feel divine when you listen and can be composed by someone who is completely at peace inside. These compositions had originated in his mind, he has translated them as notes and given to individuals who just played their part. And for him this song would have been “just another song composed on yet another day”

ps: There is actually a pretty lengthy prelude in the song itself which is mainly composed of the traditional Kerala “Chenda Melam”

pps: Both the interludes end with a female chorus. Despite multiple listens, I somehow didn’t like both the chorus. I feel it lowers the overall quality of the entire composition (like a Dhrishti). Of course, he is the master and the genius and he would have every reason to have that. Just that I didnt like it. I included in the first one above (so that you can listen and form your opinion :)) and deliberately removed in the second

Here’s the full song if you are interested in listening:

pps2: What a lame picturization for the song (try watching it in Youtube). And how such a genius composition gets lost in a crappy movie like Valli!!

 

En Vaanilae | Johny

I think Johny had one of the best sound tracks in those times. Every song in the album was a hit (and is still) including the famous “Aasaya Kaathula”. The song “Kaatril endhan geetham” was one of the best songs sung by Janaki. While the songs themselves were good, I am particularly intrigued by the interludes of the song “En Vaanilae…”

Interlude 1

Here’s the first one. Just give a full listen to this one. May be couple of times

This one starts with just few gentle piano strikes and the solo voilin takes over. And for the next few seconds there is a good healthy exchange of this voilin and flute. At around 14 seconds is when the magic in the composition starts to happen. The solo voilin plays for a good 5-6 seconds. If you listen around 20 seconds, the solo voilin plays a quite longish stride and as it does that, there 3 to 4 different sets of voilins in the background play alternatively. This form is repeated once more where the solo voilin completes it stride and then the background voilins finish too leading to a naugthy play between the piano and the voilins finally ending with the piano strikes. This is the kind of magical composition that Ilayaraja was doing back in those days. This, in my opinion is the type of orchestration that simply made him the genius he is. This kind of orchestration in songs doesn’t happen these days anymore. And in the western world, these type of orchestration happen for background scores primarily. Ilayaraja was doing these back in those days and people seldom outside the film fraternity (and that too who took very close of his music) appreciated these.

Interlude 2

This one is quite good too. Not as good as the first one for me. The initial flute portion is just awesome in this one. It’s one of his romantic high tune I would say. It’s just a tune that instantly conveys the feeling of either both or one of the lovers are feeling the ecstasy of being in love. That’s followed by a voilin orchestration that is so typical of Ilayaraja. Of course, that portion is awesome too. It’s just that he has set such a high bar for himself and the music that he creates that these type of composition just feels normal to the listener.

Both these interludes still remain one of my favorites. Imagine yourself witnessing these creations happening in his studio. Especially the interlude 1. Imagine you witnessing Ilayaraja providing notes to all his orchestra members. Each of the members practicing their part. Ilayaraja asking may be each one to play their part (I am assuming that’s how its done. I could be completely wrong). You are an observer just observin all of these and figuring out where all these individual pieces are going. And then the magical moment starts unfolding there – a take where everyone plays their part as they were instructed and you witness one of the magical creations. How I wish, I could go back in time and witness these in person. If I had a choice, I would just plead Ilayaraja to just let me be an observer in his recording studio every other day.

ps: While I loved these interludes and the song in itself, I felt the way the song was picturized didn’t do enough justice to this. Yes, the movie was directed by Mahendran but somehow felt that the picturization was just lame. Showing flowers, mountains and Rajni running in slow-mo? Here’s the video of the song in case you want to see how the interludes appeared in the movie. I am fairly confident nobody would have even given a damn to those magical pieces of music

 

Paruvamae | Nenjathai Killadhae

When it comes to interludes, the first thing that comes to my mind is the song Paruvamae from Nenjathai Killadhae movie. Of course, this song is one of the cherished songs by Ilayaraja fans. It just instantly refreshes you, especially if you hear it in the morning. You would just be taken off in to that morning “jog in the fog” moment. While the song in itself is awesome, both the interludes in this song is even more awesome.

Before you read further, a quick disclaimer. I do not know the specific terms used in music – like I haven’t learnt it professionally to write the description/analysis using specific terms. I would write them in plain English as if a layman would describe it in-person. I am fairly confident that I would probably be miserable in describing everything that happens in these interludes (there is always so much happening) in plain English. It’s pretty difficult to describe feelings in writing; for his music are more of feelings anyways.

Interlude 1

Here’s the first interlude:

It starts with a gentle guitar for few seconds and while the guitar is playing the foreground, the violins start in the background and then eventually the violins take over (as in most of his songs). When the violins take over, while you hear them, there are Cellos and Double Bass joining in the background. How I wish that Stereo, Digital Recording were present during Ilayaraja days. Most of the base sounds are completely lost in his recordings and its left to the careful listener’s imagination to absorb those. The theatres in those days were also not equipped with great sound systems and nobody would have had the pleasure of listening to these.

Interlude 2

Here’s the second interlude:

The second interlude is even more interesting. The violins start the interlude and starts fading out in about 10 seconds. The keyboard strokes continue for few more seconds and they fade away. The flute takes over and a Cello or Double Bass tapped through fingers join the background. While the flute continues to play in the foreground, the violins start in the background eventually leading up to an awesome mixing of two set of violins – one set starts and peaks, the other one start from the peak and reach the base.

I think these interludes independently are a great listen. You interject them into a romantic tune, the song becomes one the classic that would linger in the listener’s mind forever. And that’s probably what had happened to “Paruvamae…”.

I…Interludes…Ilayaraja

I have been long thinking about this. Blogs about Ilayaraja. I get immense pleasure in just listening to his songs – so would anyone who has grown up hearing his music. Even today, across generations, his songs are the ones that people jump on to when you are in love, when your love broke, a lullaby for your toddler, on that long drive, on that lonely night when your mind is on random thoughts. So much that his songs are an essential part of your life. And so much has been already written, discussed and debated about this genius. Beyond songs, one of the other important things that people relate to him is the background scores that he has composed for his films. I could be biased, but till date no one has come even close to Ilayaraja’s background scores. A very simple scene gets elevated to a powerful one because of his background scores and he is highly rated for these scores.

One of the lesser appreciated things about Ilayaraja is the interludes in his songs. While most people appreciate the songs for the overall composition (tune) and the background score in movies, not a lot of people appreciate these interludes – the music that’s between the stanza’s of a song – the ones that come between Pallavi and Charanam. And also the preludes – the music at the beginning of the song, before the Pallavi starts. Often I have found that these interludes and preludes are as awesome as the background scores that people appreciate Ilayaraja for. There is so depth in these interludes and preludes, so much orchestration (generally violins) that you can enjoy them independently of the song.

This blogpost series is going to be an attempt in collating all such magical interludes and preludes that he has created for all those 1000s of songs. Those interludes and preludes that elevate the songs to a different level. Sometimes, the song by itself may not have been a huge hit and would have gone unnoticed by many but the interludes of those lesser known songs would have been a masterpiece by itself. Couple of callouts though:

  • I have no vested interest in making money out of these blogposts. The reason why I am saying this is, the songs that I have collected (from which I would clip out specific preludes and interludes) are from internet sources. I definitely do not own the copyright for those and there is no intention to violate copyright here
  • I do have a vested interest. To centrally collate such interludes and preludes and tag them. So that, I can revisit them anytime and start listening to those magical creations. Because he has potentially created 1000’s of such interludes and preludes, it is hard for me to remember all of them in my memory (which is anyway starting to fade away with age). So, I wanted to have a digital memory which I can access anytime. Hence this attempt – one that has been long pending
  • Those who stumble upon these posts, I would encourage you to listen to these interludes and preludes through an earphone or a headphone. You would appreciate the sheer genius in these interludes only when you listen through an earphone or a headphone – a good one would be preferred. As such, most of his compositions are available in mono (not even stereo) that the depth is lost. You would definitely not appreciate these if you hear through a laptop speaker or a cheap earphone
With that, off I go. Let me start working on the first one and come back soon on the first post in this series. And hopefully, I am able to continue this series in a sustained manner to create that digital memory that I have been wanting to create for a while.