SUJATHA (leading singer, South India)
Some people ask me, if singers have any freedom to experiment or extrapolate to the tune that raja sir has composed. But i dont think there is any need to do. What is there that you can possibly do at all? Take the song "Meendum Meendum Vaa" from Vikram. You dont need to even look at the visuals. The eroticism just oozes out in the tune and orchestration. As a singer, all you have to do is follow what he has to say, just follow his instructions. For example, in 'konji pesu kobam enna' song from kaadhal kavidhai, he told me to sing as if i had just woken up in the morning, with a lazy tone.
Raja sir is very good at malayalam. Once a singer told me that he had sung something wrong, and raja sir immediately pointed to the lyrics and read it out aloud, pointing out that what the singer had sung was not what the lyricist had written - so not only can he speak malayalam, he can also read ! But he generally speakes in tamil to me, but at times, when he wants to pull my leg, he will use fluent malayalam !
There are an equal number of fans for ilaiyaraaja sir in kerala, when compared to tamilnadu. I have been gifted to sing some malayalam compositions by raja sir. Minnaram maanathu is a favourite composition, which was recorded at raja sir's residence and programmed by karthik raja. My all time favourite malayalam number is 'thumbi vaa' !