Ilayaraja literally stormed into the film industry with Anna Kili in 1976 and created a wave that refuses to die even after 35 years. His latest hit album Neethane En Ponvasantham bears testimony to this fact.
In his biography, Ilayaraja had said that his father Ramasamy, an avid astrologer, predicted that he would scale greater heights and true to his words, he did! Ramasamy also prophesized that he would not live to see the glory that his son brings to the family and died when Ilayaraja was nine years old.
Known as the maestro, Ilayaraja’s step-siblings are Pavalar Varadharajan, Kamalam, Padamavathy and Bhaskar while noted lyricist Gangai Amaren is his brother.
Ilayaraja was christened as Ganandesikan but his name was changed to Rajaiah when admitted to the school. This name was pronounced as Rasaiyya by his schoolmates. When he entered the film industry Rasaiyya changed into Ilayaraja and the rest is history.
In his biography, Ilayaraja had said that when his mother Chinnathaaiammal called in two professional astrologers to foretell the future of her children, they predicted that Ilayaraja would not continue his studies beyond eighth standard. And also that he would be the most prominent member in the family.
At that point of time, Ilayaraja wanted to prove the astrologers wrong by continuing his studies. But he had to face several hurdles the first one being poverty. His mother was not able to pay up the fees for his examination and his sister Kamalam pledged her mangalasura without her husband’s knowledge to help Ilayaraja continue his studies.
Though he had written the eights standard examination, Ilayaraja could not join the ninth standard because his mother could not pay the special fees. This prediction also turned out to be true because the maestro could not continue his studies and reached the pinnacle in the film industry with his music. Finally, the maestro understood that the predictions have come true.
However, Ilayaraja did not earn name and fame in a jiffy. He toiled hard and did all odd jobs before striking it big in the film industry. Looking back, the maestro’s long journey is freckled with several hardships but he has crossed all that with his sheer music!