Friday, November 12, 2010

Ilaiyaraja does not know music.

Ilayaraja recently said: “I am still in this field because I don’t know music. I still have so many things to pass on to the younger generation.”

Sounds like another philosophical rant, right? But there are many ways of looking at this statement. It will hit you depending on what category of fan you are.

category 1 fans - Fans that think Raja is past his peak - this group can probably reconcile / console themselves to the fact that raja is still learning (as admitted by him) and does not know music, while the "other MDs" (i made this plural) have already mastered the art of music making. So the friends in this group, you have to wait for your next 'virumandi' or 'sony music collaboration' to happen, to be happy with IR. Till then, its not a sin to have fun with your other MDs. Its good to drift away once in a while, just for the heck of it.

category 2 fans - Fans that think Raja has not finished yet or are mighty content with what they already have - This group does not feel hurt by market forces/realities / statistics or even comparisons with "Other MDs" on this basis - to this group of "selfish" fans, they dont want to expect anything more from their idol. They have their bags full already and it will take many "sweet" years for them to even completely figure out whatever he has given so far. To this category of fans, measuring IR on a commercial yardstick is like comparing a Kamaraj with a Chavan, a Kalmadi or a A.Raja (telecom minister). Kamarajar was not commercially successful either. But Kamarajar didnt take up politics to be commercially successful. The intent is different, the agenda is different, the purpose is different. The Game is played differently.

Raja started his musical journey, first as a professions, then a passion and then as a spiritual tool. The spiritual dimension at which he approaches music now is never going to make any sense or can never draw parallel to today;s materialistic / manupulative market environment. We just have to let him be what he is.

For me, a category 2 fan, the statement at the top of the mail sounds like IR has an agenda. Read the second part of the statement - Raja says - "I still have so many things to pass on to the younger generation." I belong to the group that knows or hope that the finish line is yet to be drawn.

We can talk of the winners once the race is over.


  1. Vel,

    I guess there are quite a few Category 3 fans like Rajasaranam, Usha, Hulkster, Ravi Natarajan and I (guess you too) who do not believe Raja is past his peak. We believe he is giving some of his best work even now and we enjoy his latest music as well. And no, we are not just 'satisfied' with what he gave earlier. We are greedy and we want more. And going by what he has been dishing out, he has lots more to give us.

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  3. did you read my last line Suresh?

  4. fantastic to read your point. Anyways, just to clarify, my category 2 includes people who think Raja has not finished yet.

  5. Vel,

    I made the distinction because while there are quite a few fans who think he is past his peak, there are also equally a good number of fans who believe they don't need to care about what Raja produces now. For them, 70s and 80s is enough and they don't actively seek out the current Raja.

    Given that this is music, the very concept of winners / losers doesn't make sense. As you said, the future will in all probability celebrate what Raja is doing now. For those people will not be encumbered with all the baggage that we have and will concentrate only on musical ideas. And who, pray, has more musical ideas that this man? :D

  6. when some IR fans (!)talk as if IR has lost, then winner-loser angle has to be addressed ! Anyways, great points.