The world as Ilaiyaraaja saw it

Maestro Ilaiyaraaja's photographs on display at the exhibition 'Naan Paarthapadi' in Coimbatore. Photo:K.Ananthan   | Photo Credit: K. Ananthan

Janani janani jagam nee agam nee …sang Ilaiyaraaja. It is one of his favourite compositions. He sang with his eyes closed and every member in the hall soaked in the music at inauguration of his photography exhibition called Naan Paartha Padiye. It is organised by Art Houz of Jenney’s Residency, and displays photographs clicked by the music maestro. “These are casual photographs which I clicked during my travels to Thiruvannamalai and the Mookambiga temples. I often stop my car when an arresting image captures my view. I quickly roll down my windows and click it from my car,” he says.

The photographs are like his music, you are touched by them. In one of the photos, a tribal girl stares straight into the camera while in another one a young girl looks attentively at her younger sibling taking a nap. There are photographs of misty roads, temple a pond filled with lotus blooms, the twilight colours of the sky, towering blue hills, an orange sun rising against a temple gopuram, coconut groves, trees bathed in sunlight, snaking village roads…“There are so many more missed moments. I don’t know anything about aperture or shutter speed. If the photographs have come out well, the credit goes to the cameras,” he says. There are snapshots of Delhi too and the Taj Mahal seen through an arch. He has also snapped the Qutub Minar and the street life in the capital.

Ilaiyaaraja has taken these pictures with manual cameras — Leica 6.2, RI 6 and RI 7. he says he stopped taking pictures once the digital cameras came in. “The photographs are taken from the 70s and was lying in the dark for a long time till some of my well wishers intervened and took the initiative to document them. I used to send it to the lab with strict instructions, ‘no colour correction’ and ‘no cropping’. The colours replicated in the pictures are exactly the same I enjoyed at that moment while clicking them,” he says.

He says he was interested in photography since childhood. He would also sketch, and paint. “My friend, director Bharatiraaja, and I often competed with each other to take better photographs. I was born in a village when no one had ever seen a camera. I hardly have any talent in photography,” he says.

The photo exhibition is on till April 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Jenney’s Residency, Avanashi Road.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 12:11:41 AM |

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