Ilayaraja. If some stranger were to look at him, he could mistake him for an ascetic with respect to his serene face and attire. But Raja is one single force which has changed Tamil music industry and perhaps india's as well. This show was a small tribute to the man who rose from a small village to reach the heights of the philharmonic orchestra.
The evening began with "Janani Janani" by Raja and hearing it u feel jealous of this man whose voice has not aged for ages. SPB followed suit with "Mandram vanda tendralukku" and the crowd went wild. But Raja requested the crowd to be silent when the songs were rendered which is quite the opposite of what the rest of any musician might have wanted on his show. Shreya Goshal picked up "Kaatril endhan geetham" from Johny. She wrongly pronounced the word "Thedude" as "Thodude" and when she did pronounce it rightly the crown applauded.Chennai kusumbu!!!
Raja sang "Naan thedum Sevanthi poo" and the crowd went beserk. Everyone asked for Once more and the king responded suitably. Some of the best songs of the evening which the crowd really loved were "Sundari Kannal oru seidhi" by SPB and Chitra from Thalapathi, "Shenbagamae" by Mano and Sadhana. Vaali and Raja shared their malarum ninaivugal of the same. Chitra was as usual at her best in "Paadariayen padipariyaen" and as a bonus also sang Mari mari and delighted the crowd. Personally i felt that we all missed the versatile S. Janaki. Her absence was felt when other singers rendered her timeless classics as "Kaatril ethan geetham", "Senthoora poovae", "Aasaya Kaathula" and still felt short of her standards.
Raja sang "Thendral Vandu theendumbodhu" from Avadharam and really if u were to close ur eyes and listen to that mellifluous voice i promise u could feel as if on heaven. In between Bharathiraja, kamalHaasan ,Suhasini, Vaali made entry and paid homage to the king. We expected Kamal to render "Unnai vida" from Virumaandi but he dissapointed and it was even more dissapointing to here Tippu render the same. Sadhana Sargam gave her best in "Paatu Solli" from Azhagi and she is perhaps the only breed of the North singer who sings with minimal mistakes. Parthiban kept the crowd in splits with his gundaka mandaka dialogues.
Infact the crowd enjoyed the 80s song much more than the ones which were recently recorded. "Maanguyiale" from Karagaatakaaran ruled the crowd more than one from Oru naal oru kanavu released recently. Still there were songs which we thought could have been rendered as "Ilaya Nila","Poomalayae","Raakamma","Amma endrazhikkahda","Paartha vizhi", "Sangeetha megham"...the list is endless. Whats ur list of Raja's best?
The last 15 minutes belonged to the versatile Siva Mani and he showed why he is the best drummer around. He had Drums and sticks in all imaginable sizes and played them effortlessly. Raja also sang a 3 swaram song comprising of just sa ri ga and leaving out rest 4 swaras ma pa dha ni.
Some of the yuppie gen felt bored as there were no hip shakers..but then people....this was one of the few occassions where the body took backseat and the soul took precedence. For those who miss it too much....the idiot box is always there.