The traditional song composition in Tamil (Indian) movies happens with the Director and the Music Director getting together to chart the situations and the songs they demand. Songs in the bag, the Director goes away to shoot what he has to and returns for the background score. Illayaraja is known to be a stickler to this routine. However, three movies have broken this unwritten rule. All of three of them them went on to become spectacular hits in their own right.

Enna Petha Rasa

In Illayaraja’s own words, his lack of confidence in Director Siraaj kept him from touching Enna Petha Rasa. Six months after the movie was put together (without any BGM), Illayaraja relented. After watching the movie, Illayaraja was so impressed with the movie, he agreed to lend the score and a few songs, which were shot after the fact.


Again, by Illayaraja’s admission, Nasser had mentioned planning to shoot Avatharam, but did not record anything ahead. All songs were recorded after the movie was assembled.

Hey Ram

L Subramaniam was on track to complete to Hey Ram, with a few songs even fully picturized, until a fee negotiation (somewhere between the initially offered INR10 lakhs and the demanded INR15 lakhs) drove a wedge between Kamal Haasan and L Subramaniam. So deep were their differences that Kamal took the film to Illayaraja and legend has it that Illayaraja did the entire background score and the songs from scratch;  a few songs were done over the edited portions that L Subramanian had completed.

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