The most awaited audio launch of Maestro Ilayaraja’s Neethane En Ponvasantham was held at the Nehru Indoor Stadium. Hundreds of fans and heavy star power consisting of K Balachandar, Bharathiraja, Balu Mahendra, Suriya, Karthi, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Karthik Raja, Jayam Ravi, Jiiva, Samantha, Premji, P Vasu, Suresh Krishna, Venkat Prabhu, Samuthirakani, R Sunderrajan and several others made the evening a special one.
Director Gautham Vasudev Menon played the perfect host for the evening. The grand function kicked off with a documentary on Ilayaraja, followed by a spectacular instrumental rendition of Raja’s super hits by the London and Hungary based musicians. The medley consisted of Indha Poovilum Vaasam Undu, Thenpandi Seemaile, Raja Kayya Vecha, Kanmani Anbodu and Sundari Kannal Oru Seidhi. The crowd remained silent and amazed by the grandeur provided by the band. It was a completely different experience to listen to the full-fledged orchestral performance.
Gautham too beautifully rendered his favourite song Uravugal Thodarkadhai and gave the legendary musician a grand introduction. The stadium resounded with cheers when Ilayaraja made his entry. The musician began his evening on an auspicious note by singing Janani Janani… When whistles flew in the air, he stopped singing and said with a smile, “You have all come here to celebrate music. So please respect these artistes and avoid whistling. One more whistle, I’m off the stage.” The entire crowd was dumbstruck, and not once after that anyone in the stadium heard a whistle. That showed the respect people had for him.
The first song for the evening, Pudikkala Machan was introduced by actor Santhanam. The comedian said, “Whether we enjoy Raja’s songs or not, we have used his songs to impress girls. I do not know a single word of Telugu. But to woo an Andhra girl, I learnt one of Raja’s super hit Telugu songs, which in turn taught me the strength of an Andhra father.” The actor then introduced the song and said that he too has danced in this number. Singer Suraj who has crooned the original, fired up the stage holding on to his ‘Yo man’ style.
Suriya introduced the next song, Kaatrai Konjam and shared how his childhood was filled with Raja songs. Singer Karthik was at his best while rendering this number. Na Muthukumar introduced Mudhal Murai Partha crooned by Sunith Sarathy and Yuvan came up with his Sainthu Sainthu.
Samantha was called upon the stage to introduce the song Satru Munbu. Like a nervous kid made to perform in front of hundreds of people in the school auditorium, she said “I’m all shaking. It’s an honour for me to stand in front of so many legends. The song Satru Munbu is a collection of beautiful memories Varun and Nithya shares. It is a mesmerizing number.”
Jiiva with his usual wits introduced a love failure song, Pengal Endral and Yuvan climbed up on the stage and rendered it with full energy. The song Ennodu Va Va was introduced by the director himself and again Karthik rocked the stage.
Gautham asked every director present there to say a few words about the maestro. Directors Bharathiraja, Balu Mahendra and K Balachander, who have all worked with Ilayaraja in a number of films, expressed the beautiful relationships they share with the maestro. Bharathiraja was almost in tears while recollecting his nostalgic moments. All the directors asked for their favourite numbers and Karthik rendered it all for them in an instant, for which he must be applauded.
The hero of the show, Isaignani Ilayaraja himself sang Vaanam Mella and moved the audience to tears with his immortal voice. Before wrapping up the show, the maestro looked at the audience and said, “Yennodu vaa vaa endru solla maaten, unnai vittu veru engum poga maaten.”
Tags: Neethane En Ponvasantham, K Balachandar, Bharathiraja, Balu Mahendra, Suriya, Karthi, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Karthik Raja, Jayam Ravi, Jiiva, Samantha, Premji, P Vasu, Suresh Krishna, Venkat Prabhu, Samuthirakani, R Sunderrajan
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