True, they have only worked in ten films together, but boy, wouldn't have we missed something substantial if not for those ten magical films with mesmerizing music?
Mani Ratnam started off his career with Ilaiyaraaja by his side and they together rewrote the meaning of commercial as well as classical music in Kollywood.
When everyone had thought the deadly combination of Raja, Mani and Vairamuthu would go on forever, it unfortunately, had to come to an end, giving rise to new phenomena.
But most importantly, before they parted ways due to creative differences, they vigorously waved their magical wands to create music that was never heard before, be it songs or background score.
It doesn't have to be a special day to revisit their brilliant works and thereby give ourselves an opportunity to not only remember their wonderful partnership but also honour these two legendary personalities of Indian cinema.
Check out the slides below to know about those 10 films in which Ilaiyaraaja and Mani Ratnam have worked together:
Pallavi Anu Pallavi
Being Mani Ratnam's first movie, he was introduced to Ilaiyaraaja by Balu Mahendra(cameraman of this Kannada flick). It is reported that Mani Ratnam approached Ilaiyaraaja by saying he would like him to compose music for this small budget movie. Mani also confessed that he can't afford to pay Ilaiyaraaja his actual market price. Ilaiyaraaja agreed and composed for the film taking only one-fifth of his actual remuneration at that time.
Unaru happens to be Mani Ratnam's second film and is a Malayalam flick. His association with Ilaiyaraaja continued as the acclaimed musician composed music for this Mohanlal starrer. Well known songs in this movie includes 'Deepame' and 'Theeram thedi olam padi', both sung by S Janaki.
This film marked Mani Ratnam's entry into Tamil cinema. Having worked with Ilaiyaraaja in two movies before, the then new and talented director was in no mood to let go of his most trusted musician. Famous songs from this flick are 'Poo Maalayae' sung by Ilaiyaraaja, Janaki and 'Vaidhegi Raman' sung by Janaki.
Idaya Kovil was a musical-fest as the story itself revolves around a singer. The film was Mani Ratnam's first major hit in Tamil. Songs like 'Idhayam Oru Kovil', 'Kootathilae Kovil Pura', 'Naan Paadum Mouna Raagam' and 'Yaar Veetu Roja' went on to become massive hits, eventually contributing in the film's overall success.
Considered as a cult classic, the magical combination of Ilaiyaraaja and Mani Ratnam was being noted at the time of this movie's release. Mouna Ragam went on to win the National Film Award for Best Film and the songs are hummed by many even today. Some of the celebrated songs include, 'Nilaave Vaa' and 'Mandram Vandha' both sung by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam.
When everyone were still thinking about Mouna Ragam, Mani Ratnam and Ilaiyaraaja came up with Nayagan the following year. Declared as one of India's best movies ever made, Nayagan was also praised for its soulful music. Popular songs in this film includes, 'Nee Oru Kadhal Sangeetham', 'Nila Adhu Vanathumele' and 'Thenpandi Cheemayile'.
Yet again considered as a classic, Agni Natchathiram completed a 200 day run at the box office. All the songs from this movie went on to become chart busters making people realize that music can never go wrong in a Mani Ratnam-Ilaiyaraaja flick. Some of the tracks from this film includes, 'Ninnukori Varanam', 'Raaja Raajathi', 'Thoongatha Vizhigal' and 'Vaa Vaa Anbe Anbe'.
After three blockbuster hits in Tamil, Mani Ratnam ventured into Telugu cinema through Geethanjali, but he retained his music director. Both the film and its album were successful commercially and received critical acclaim as well. Popular numbers from this film are, 'Oh Priya Priya', 'Oh Papa Laali' and 'Kaviyam Padava Thendrale', all sung by Mano.
Being Ilaiyaraaja's 500th film, Anjali was India's official entry to the Oscars in 1991. Great story backed by great music, the film was nothing short of a magical experience. Hit numbers from this movie includes, 'Vegam Vegam', 'Anjali Anjali' and 'Something Something'.
Unfortunately, Thalapathi marks the end of an era as Mani Ratnam and Ilaiyaraaja never once in their life worked together after Thalapathi and the trend continues even today. But, what a sign off it was? The song, 'Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu' was amongst the songs listed in a BBC World Top Ten music poll. Other soul-stirring songs includes, 'Chinna Thaai Aval' and 'Sundari' which has some of the most complex notes.