Ilayaraja... a name that needs no introduction celebrates his 78th birthday today (June 2). The musical genius brought a new dimension to film music and set new milestones in film songs with his diverse music. Ilayaraja's real name is Gnanathesikan and was born on June 2, 1943 in Panniyapuram, Theni district of Tamil Nadu. Ilayaraja was the third son of Ramaswamy and Chinnatayammal couple.
The 'Raja' of South Film Industry has won five National Awards, three for Best Music Director and two for Background Score category
Sagara Sangamam and Rudraveena are the Telugu films for which he won National awards.
Incidentally, his first National Award was for the Telugu film Sagara Sangamam directed by K Viswanath.
The Isaignani has directed over 5,000 songs and 1000 films in various languages including Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Kannada and one Marathi in his film career spanning 40+ years.
-Ilayaraja started his career with Tamil films and made his debut with Annakkali, as a music director
- He first composed music for a Telugu film titled Bhadrakali in the year 1976.
- He gained recognition in Telugu with Tamil dubbed films which were quite a hit starting from the 80s. He was one of the earliest Indian film composers to use Western classical music harmonies and string arrangements.
Ilayaraja gave many memorable hits in Telugu and had a special affiliation with director Vamsi. Sithara, Anveshana, Maharshi, Chettukinda Pleader, Ladies Tailor to an extent he has given music to almost all of Vamshi's films which were super hits.
-He was awarded the Padma Bhushan Award in 2010 and Padma Vibhushan Award in 2018. - He was presented the NTR National Award by the Andhra Pradesh State Government in 2004.
He also shares his birthday with director Maniratnam for whom he rendered music for super hit films like Mouna Ragam and Gharshana.