google playGoogle
app storeiOS
settings icon
profile icon

Kalaignar Karunanidhi ayya gave me the title Isaignani: Ilaiyaraaja

The ace composer revealed the same at a recently held concert in Coimbatore

  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 04.23 AM, Jun 05, 2022

Kalaignar Karunanidhi ayya gave me the title Isaignani: Ilaiyaraaja

Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja recently revealed the story of how he got the title Isaignani. The ace composer was in Coimbatore on June 2nd for a concert on the occasion of his birthday. Speaking on the occasion, Ilaiyaraaja narrated the tale of how he got the title Isaignani. 

Ilaiyaraaja was named Gnanadesikan at birth and his younger brother Gangai Amaren was named Gangadharan. The brothers formed a musical troupe called Pavalar Brothers, which was headed by their elder brother Pavalar Varadharajan. They used to perform regularly in rural areas. "When my parents enrolled me in school, they changed my name to Rajayya since it was easy for everyone to call. My teacher while writing my name on the notebook, said that Rajayya didn't sound good, and changed my name to Raja."

He added that his name further underwent a change when he stepped into the film industry. " When I got into films, ace writer, director and producer Panchu Arunachalam asked how would I like to be known as in the film industry and pat came my reply, "Pavalar Brothers! We have been doing kacheris everywhere." Panchu said that it was a very old name. I then suggested the name Raaja. To which he replied, 'There's already an AVM Raja," and began mulling. Finally he said, "Ok, let him be Mootha (Elder) Raaja and You be 'Ilaiya (Younger) Raaja. And we agreed upon the same."

On getting the title Isaignani, Ilaiyaraaja said, "I have no idea how Kalaignar ayya found out that my real name was Gnanadesikan. He picked 'Gnana' from my maiden name and gave the title Isaignani (music maestro) at a huge gathering that was packed to the rafters. I was moved by the way he understood the emotions of a father, who named me. That was Kalaignar ayya's specialty. He was like my father, who gave me the title that's stuck with me until today."