Music

The force behind Ilayaraja’s live concerts

Sriram Bakthisaran with Ilayaraja  

Sriram Bakthisaran, former CEO of Fortune 500, met Raja sir around seven years ago, through a common friend. The idea was to “structure and streamline” the composer’s music, copyright issues, recordings, concerts...his complete portfolio. Currently, managing Mercuri Media Marketing Pvt Ltd, Mercuri Talent Management Pvt Ltd, and Ilayaraja Music and Management Pvt. Ltd, Sriram remembers the initial apprehensions. “When we first met, Raja sir didn’t seem too sure of me. ‘What can this person, CEO of a corporate company in the US, do for me?’ he must have felt…” But Sriram was recommended by two highly influential and trusted friends of Raja sir, and he conceded.

“My company, Mercuri consulting and marketing, markets films as a product in itself. We have done films like Robot, Ayiratthil Oruvan and others.” Barring a few films, Sriram was not too conversant with Raja sir’s work. “I came from a completely different background. I proposed a few things including a business model, and we both eventually agreed that we could partner and take it to a different level.” They set up the Ilayaraja Music and Management Pvt Ltd. and recently even won a legal battle against Agi Music, a Malaysia based music label.

However, after a few months of work with the composer, when Sriram and Raja sir had grown very fond of each other, Sriram decided that he will henceforth do work for the musician only as an admirer and confidante. “We have great love and respect for each other, and to bring business into this relationship seems bizarre.”

Many things have changed and regularised with Sriram coming into the picture. In the last five years, there have been over 40 live concerts of Ilayaraja, something that had not happened in the last four decades. In fact, concerts of this scale – with over 100 live musicians — have had no precedent in Asia. “Raja sir is enjoying this and so are his musicians who have been with him for the last 40 years. He is a very committed person, rigorous and thorough. He will not make even a small compromise when it comes to music. But otherwise, he has no demands whatsoever. He is very simple and easy to handle, unlike others who have attained stardom,” explains Sriram.

The differences between him and SPB have been sorted out, says Sriram. “They have been thick friends for several years and that cannot go away with such misunderstandings. The two are back together, and everything else is a thing of the past.”

Sriram is instrumental in bringing Ilayaraja to audiences across the globe. He is the mover and shaker between these mega shows. It is no mean task.


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Printable version | Sep 15, 2021 6:57:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/the-force-behind-ilayarajas-live-concerts/article29973138.ece

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