Ilaiyaraaja is popularly known as ‘Isaignani’ by his followers and is working predominantly in the Indian film industry. He is one of the greatest Indian music composers. He has composed music for more than 1,000 films and over 20,000 concerts.
Ilaiyaraaja (Ilaiya means younger in the Tamil Language), Raaja, Maestro, Isaignani (Word for musical genius), Raja sir, Ragadevan
Pannaipuram, Theni district, Tamil Nadu, India
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
While joining the school, his name was changed to ‘Rajaiya’ by his father. He joined a traveling musical troupe which was headed by his brother Pavalar Varadarajan, at the age of 14.
He joined a music course with Professor Dhanraj in Chennai in 1968. It included an overview of Western classical music, compositional training in techniques like counterpoint, and study in instrumental performance. He studied classical guitar courses and is also a gold medalist from Trinity College of Music, London through distance learning channels.
Film score composer, Music director, Songwriter, Singer, Conductor, Instrumentalist, Arranger, Orchestrator, and Film producer
- Father – Daniel Ramasamy (Died)
- Mother – Chinnathayi
- Siblings – Pavalar Varadarajan (Older Brother) (Poet; Died), Amar Singh called Bhaskaran (Brother) (Died), Gangai Amaran (Younger Brother) (Actor, Voice Actor, Director, Film Score Composer, Music Director, Songwriter, Singer, Instrumentalist, Arranger, Orchestrator, and Lyricist), Padmavathi Rajayya (Sister), Kamalammal Rajayya (Sister)
- Others – Venkat Prabhu (Nephew), Premgi Amaran (Nephew)
He is managed by –
- Mercuri Talent Management Pvt Limited
- Ilaiyaraaja Music N Management Pvt Limited
Film Score, World Music, Classical, Oratorio, Folk, Rock, and Jazz
Vocals, Playback Singing, Guitar, Keyboard, Harmonium, Flute, Organ, Piano, Violin, and Cello
His music has been released by T-Series, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, Times Music, Aditya Music, Think Music India, Star Music, Universal Music India, Oriental Record Inc, and others.
5 ft 4 in or 162.5 cm
59 kg or 130 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
- Jeeva Rajayya – He was married to Jeeva, a film producer. She died on October 31, 2011. They have 2 sons and a daughter named Karthik Raja (Indian composer), (Indian film score & soundtrack composer, singer, songwriter), and Bhavatharini (Singer and Music director) respectively.
Race / Ethnicity
With the advancing age, his hair turned white.
Calm and composed nature
He endorsed Malabar Golds in 2010.
- He still uses his old harmonium, be it on a stage concert or while composing a song in his studio. Raja sir has scored more than 7,000 songs throughout his career with his harmonium.
- He finished composing for the entire soundtrack in less than half a day for the film Thalapathi (1991). Also, for Chembaruthi (1992), Isaignani composed 9 songs in just 45 minutes which is a record.
- Raaja had used a 90-piece orchestra for a song in AVM’s film Uyarnda Ullam. R. D. Burman’s assistants co-ordinated Ilaiyaraaja to compose for the film’s music. In just half an hour, the orchestra was written and the song was composed. Once the song was done, all the 90 musicians in the studio gave the maestro a standing ovation.
- Always Raja sir used to start recording for his songs at sharp 7 am. He would take a piece of sheet, write the song number, time of recording, and name of the production on the left side of the sheet. Then, when it used to come to fill the name of the singer in the sheet, he would look for the required singers. If the necessary singers were not available, he would end up singing the song by himself.
- In 2018, he had expressed his doubts regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He appealed that the one and the only person who has truly experienced resurrection is ‘Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi’. This created criticism on him and a complaint was lodged against him by the Christian group for his controversial speech against the belief of Christians.
- Oscar award winner has worked as a pianist in Isaignani’s troupe for nearly 500 movies.
Featured image by Ilaiyaraaja / Instagram
Facts of Ilaiyaraaja
- full nameIlaiyaraaja
- Date of Birth June 02, 1943
- Age 78 years 7 months
- Horoscope Gemini
- Lucky Number 7
- Lucky Stone Agate
- Lucky Color Yellow
- Best Match for Marriage Leo, Aquarius, Libra
- weight59 kg
- height5 ft 4 in