There is a popular song of Ilayaraaja’s, Veettukku Veedu Vaasappadi Venum, from Kizhakku Vaasal. Quite a few music fans may know it to be an inspiration from Mozart’s 25th symphony. In fact, there was a comment once on Facebook from his flutist, Napoleon Selvaraj (also singer Arunmozhi) that on the day of recording, IR produced notes from the symphony, made them play it and announced this shall be the song for the day. That trivia aside, Mozart’s movement here:

Ilayaraaja’s Veettukku Veedu here:

By now as you finish hearing both tracks, you may have figured where the inspiration lies (if you didn’t know already that is). It is in Veettukku Veedu’s first line and the portion where Mozart’s symphony enters what is popular to us as the ‘Titan theme’. It is a very well disguised inspiration, as you would have now noticed. But the question that may arise is, why this? It may be IR just seeking inspiration. But maybe not, according to him. He told an audience in Italy during one of his concerts there in 2005 that the reason for picking this symphony up was to make a point. Aside from the obvious tribute to Mozart, the second line of Veettukku Veedu, “therukkoothukkum paattukkum thaaLa gadhi vENum” (a street play needs its rhythm progression) is the whole point behind this inspiration.

Ilayaraaja wishes to underline that with the appropriate thaaLa gadhi (rhythm progression), any music can become a therukkoothu (street play). How does he go about doing/proving this statement of his? Yes, he takes up Mozart’s symphony and with the rhythm or thaaLa gadhi he sees as appropriate, he produces a most entertaining song fitting the template of a therukkoothu to a T! He was expecting some discerning fan to get this. None of us did, until he told us. One aspect of the cleverness of a genius lies in the fact that when it breaks down the methods behind its genius, it stares in our face but unless it is broken down, it is never apparent.

Recently, a violinist played Mozart’s movement, transitioned to Ilayaraaja and went back to Mozart. It effectively puts the method behind this song in a nutshell. Also, note how the audience react when it becomes “our music”.

I have also uploaded Ilayaraaja’s extended cover of the same song which he performed with his orchestra in the Italian concert. He plays around with the rhythms quite a bit here going on a thani Avarthanam-like movement with his percussionists.

Why did I post this? Have blog, will archive all the relevant videos with His Master’s insights in one page. Ciao until the next post.