Dhanush on Ilaiyaraaja biopic: His music has been my companion and acting guru

Music composer Ilaiyaraaja’s biopic was launched in Chennai, with actors Dhanush and Kamal Haasan heaping praise on the musician

Updated - March 20, 2024 04:56 pm IST

Published - March 20, 2024 03:39 pm IST

Dhanush, Ilaiyaraaja and Kamal Haasan during the launch of Ilaiyaraaja’s biopic

Dhanush, Ilaiyaraaja and Kamal Haasan during the launch of Ilaiyaraaja’s biopic | Photo Credit: Johan Sathyadas

With the popular melody ‘Kanmani Anbodu’ (Guna) playing in the background, music director Ilaiyaraaja and actors Dhanush and Kamal Haasan walked up on stage, for the launch of the ace composer’s biopic.

Ilaiyaraaja’s biopic, launched with much fanfare on Wednesday morning in Chennai, will see National Award-winning actor Dhanush playing the lead role. It will be directed by Arun Matheshwaran, who helmed the Dhanush-starrer Captain Miller, and will feature music by Ilaiyaraaja.

Dhanush said, “I firmly believe in the phrase, Ennam pol vazhkai (What you think, you will become). A lot of you might have spent several nights listening to Ilaiyaraaja’s music, but I have spent sleepless nights thinking about his life and how to portray him, and it has now manifested.”

The first-look poster of Ilaiyaraaja’s biopic

The first-look poster of Ilaiyaraaja’s biopic

Stating that he aspired to portray two people on the big screen – Ilaiyaraaja and Rajinikanth – and that he is happy that the first is happening now, Dhanush added, “Ilaiyaraaja’s music has not just been my companion, but also my acting guru. Before shooting, I listen to an Ilaiyaraaja song or BGM that matches the mood of the scene and that helps me deliver my performance. Playing him is not a big responsibility because his music will teach and guide me through this process.”

Kamal Haasan, a close collaborator with Ilaiyaraaja, launched the first-look poster of the film and said that he has always been in awe of Ilaiyaraaja’s music. “This journey started with me calling him ‘Sir’ and slowly progressed to ‘ayya’ and ‘anna’. I look forward to this film’s journey,” said Kamal Haasan.

The event, which saw the likes of many popular filmmakers including Bharathiraja, Vetri Maaran and Thiagarajan Kumararaja, was peppered with interesting speeches and a lot of music. Vetri Maaran, who worked with the composer in 2023’s Viduthalai, said, “There have been many changes in my life but his music has always been a constant.” Vetri is currently producing Manushi, a Tamil film directed by Gopi Nainar that has music by Ilaiyaraaja. “There’s a dialogue at the end of this film that is the opposite of one of his beliefs, but he still went ahead to provide some wonderful music to it. His score effortlessly transformed a police procedural scene too.”

Describing Ilaiyaraaja as a ‘magician and not a musician’, the director added, “Film music has for long been bookmarks of life’s personal history. When his life becomes a film, it’s our lives also being made into a film. It’s everyone’s film.”

Backed by Connekkt Media, PK Prime Production and Mercuri Movies, Ilaiyaraaja will have cinematography by Nirav Shah while production design will be handled by Muthuraj. It will be out in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.

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