Maestro Ilayaraja, who has given Kannada Film industry a number of memorable songs like “Naguva Nayana…”, “Jeeva Hoovagide…”, “Jothejotheyali…”, is back in Kannada with a film titled Yuddhabhoomiyalli Ondu Hoovu (A flower in the Battlefield) being directed by Ganeshan. Ilayaraja addressed the media at a conference in Bangalore after a long time. Here’s what he had to say about today’s music and about being back in the Kannada Film Industry.
Off late, it seems like you have cut down on your music assignments. Why?
Give me one reason why I should continue to compose music for films. Do I have to do it for money? Do I have to do it for popularity? Or do I have to compose music for the sake of being busy? Till date I have composed music for 926 films and I am quite content with what I have done. Now I only compose music if I feel the story is good.
Do you mean to say that today’s stories are not good?
I didn’t mean that. I imagine the story in my own way while doing a film. I don’t compose music just for the sake of doing a film. I love working with newcomers. If I feel I should work for a film, then I will.
The last ten years has seen a lot of changes in the field of recording? How do you cope up with that?
It is not about whether I like the changes or not, nor is it about the differences between live and digital. All that matters in the end is whether the listeners like the song or not. We listen to the complete song and not in pieces. So, it is very important that we like the song.
You are back in Kannada after a short while. How do you feel?
Nothing much has changed here. Normally, I don’t like to listen to scripts. If I am in a good mood while listening to the script, then I will definitely compose music for the film no matter what. But If I don’t like it, then I won’t compose songs. I like Ganeshan’s script, so I agreed to compose music for the film, and here I am.