Happy birthday Ilaayraja & Mani Ratnam

Today (June 2) is the birthday of Ilayaraja and Mani Ratnam, the two legends of Tamil cinema. While the former made an indelible mark with his music, the latter directed many landmark mvoies.

Regarded as one of the finest music composers in India, Ilayaraja is also an instrumentalist, conductor, singer, and songwriter. He has composed more than 8000 songs and provided film scores for more than 1000 films, particularly being acclaimed for his background scores.

Happy birthday Ilaayraja & Mani Ratnam

Happy birthday Ilaayraja & Mani Ratnam


Popular world cinema portal Taste of Cinema placed Ilaiyaraja at the 9th position in its list of 25 greatest film composers in the cinema history. In a poll conducted by CNN-IBN celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema in 2013, Ilaiyaraaja was voted as the greatest music composer of India with a maximum of 49%.

Ilayaraja grew up in a rural area, exposed to a range of Tamil folk music. At the age of 14, he joined a travelling musical troupe headed by his elder brother, Pavalar Varadarajan, and spent the next decade performing throughout South India. While working with the troupe, he penned his first composition, a musical adaptation of an elegy written by the Tamil poet laureate Kannadasan for Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.

Cited by the media as one of India’s most acclaimed and influential filmmakers, Mani Ratnam is widely credited with revolutionising the Tamil film industry and altering the profile of Indian cinema. Although working in the mainstream medium, his films are noted for their realism, technical finesse, and craft. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri, acknowledging his contributions to film in 2002.

Despite being born into a film family, Mani Ratnam did not develop any interest towards films when he was young. Upon completion of his post graduation in management, he started his career as a consultant. He entered the film industry through the 1983 Kannada film Pallavi Anu Pallavi.

The failure of his subsequent films would mean that he was left with little offers. However, his fifth directorial outing, Mouna Ragam (1986), established him as a leading filmmaker in Tamil cinema. He followed that with the Godfatheresque Nayagan (1987), which is regarded as a cult film over the years. Mani Ratnam is well known for his “Political trilogy” consisting of Roja (1992), Bombay (1995), and Dil Se.. (1998). The commercial and critical success of Roja established him as a leading filmmaker in Indian cinema.