Andrum Indrum Endrum Maestro - A lifetime experience

Due to hectic work schedules, it got delayed to post my thoughts on the show and now here it is

Lot more happened in the concert but this is what I could remember and record, please bear with spelling and grammatical errors as I am typed this in a hurry.

“Andrum Indrum Endrum Maestro” is the first live concert of my life. I am happy that my first ever concert turned out as a memorable one too. Obviously it has to be as the concert is by Maestro Illayaraja. It started 30 minutes late at 6.30 PM typical of any other Indian concert. The Nehru indoor stadium was jam packed. The stage and background set in glossy white shades was beautifully designed and crafted by an artist called Boopathy. The stage gave a very good impression that we have come for a really big show.

Before the show actually started, they played a short documentary about Illayaraja with lot of interesting clippings and interviews. It was good though it tested the patience of the audience. The entire orchestra of Illayaraja was there on the stage with Napoleon on flute, Sivamani on Drums, 30 violin and 4 violas in string section and all other necessary instruments. The show was hosted by R.Parthiban and Singer Mahathi. Both did a fair job.

Then came the most awaited moment of the event amidst a thunderous applause from the audience i.e., IR introduction with a grand orchestral piece (of course composed by IR) in the background. He came down singing a devotional number “Nada vadivey” and continued singing “Janani Janani” song. The highlight of the song is Yuvan and Karthikraja joined with IR for this song. IR’s voice was shivering a little initially but reached right pitch soon. After the song, he spoke to the audience about how much he owes his success to his fans.

Then came the majestic SPB and started at high pitch to sing classic “Mandram vandha”. The orchestration was good but due to some initial hiccups the beautiful trumpet solo piece in the interludes didn’t reach the audience well. SPB as always did a great job with lot of improvisations.

I should say the best performer of the evening was Chitra among the singers. All her songs rocked the auditorium. Be it the light melodious, Yethetho or folk based classical “Padariyaen” she was at her best. Especially it was great to watch her singing those complex swaras in “Padariyaen” song and as in the movie, the crowd applauded when she shifted to “Mari mari” at the end. Also “Ninnukori varanam” song was great along with rocking percussions of Sivamani, though keyboard player made some mistakes in the interludes.

Uma Ramanan sang two songs, “hey, padal ondru” and “Agaya vennilavae” along with Vijay Yesudass and Madhu balakrishna. Vijay and Madhu filled the absence of Yesudass though Madhu’s voice was more fitting in KJY’s songs than Vijay.

Swarnalatha entered with “Adi athadi” and finished her slot with “Aatama therottama” song. Somehow percussions in “Aaatama” songs didn’t click in the show. It lacked punch and doesn’t sounded as it is in the record. I thought she would sing my all time favorite melody of her “Malayil yaaro malarodu pesa” but it wasn’t included. She looked really struggling to get the pitch right in all the songs.

Sadhana Sargam did a marvelous job considering the fact that she is alien to Tamil. She thanked Illayaraja for giving her “Paatu solli” song (for which she fetched the coveted national award) before she started to sing. It was one of the very few songs in the concert which had exact effect as in the record. She got every single pitch, note, expression and diction right.

Shreya Ghosal made lot of mistakes in pronunciation while singing a classic of S.Janaki “Kaatril enthan geetham” from Jhony but no harm as she got the feel right. She also sung “Illangathu veesuthey”, “Unna vida” and “Khajuraho” songs. She did her job pretty well.

Jeyachandran sang “Rasathi unna” song. I should the orchestra did a better job in this song. It always happens that the singers miss the feel of the song while singing such emotional numbers live and so did Jeyachandran. He sang it plain without much of expressions.

Bhavatharini sang “Mayil pola” song pretty well and I should the guy who played the rhythm, it sounded exactly as it is in the record. And Karthik joined Bhavatharini for another beautiful duet “Oliyilae” from “Azaghi”. Karthik was too good in singing with right expressions. I wish he could have sung more numbers.

Except for the raga he sung before the “Olangal” song, the singer I liked least in the concert is Hariharan. In the name of improvisation, he literally killed most of the songs he sung which includes “Ennai Thalaata varuvala”, “Khajuraho”, “En choli paduvatho”, and “Vanavillae”.

I think I have covered almost all the singers. Now moving on to the highlights of the concert, in the orchestra Flautist Nepolean (Arunmozhi, the singer), Sivamani in drums and the 30 Violins and 4 violas in String section rocked. For most of the songs I was following the strings section. It is great to watch 30 hands with bows moving simultaneously in one direction and that to playing the notes of Illayaraja. It is a treat to both ears and eyes.

Among the songs performed, the orchestra got a special applause in the middle for the the second BGM of the song “Sundari Kannal Oru Sethi”. It was just out of the world to hear the orchestra and choirs perform that piece unplugged. Yet I didn’t know why the strings were not playing in the background when the singers sing the charanam, actually in the song there is a full length string orchestration in the background for the whole song. Also “Thendral vandhu theendum podhu” was performed perfectly as it is in the audio. “O priya priya” is another song in which I enjoyed the orchestration along with expressive vocals by both Mano and Chitra. The intro music for Illayarja was also performed well by the orchestra; especially I liked the heroic trumpet piece.

Some of the songs are messed up due to lack of rehearsals and one of them is “Kaatril Oru geethamae”, the recent master piece of Illayarja was not performed well. The coordination between the singers was pathetic. Also the tempo was little slower than the original version. In “Padariyaen” song, the accompanying violin and mirudangam didn’t synch well with Chitra, though Chitra did a perfect job.

Then another highlight of the show is “Naan thedum sevvandhi poovidhu” song performed by Illayaraja and Manjari. Audience requested for “Once more” and after a while Illayaraja started the song again. I have heard the song many times before and liked it but it has now become one of my all time favorites after the show. The song has such a catchy rhythm and melody in it. The crowd went mad on this song and continued clapping rhythmically along with the song.


The “Musical Journey” was not received well initially by the audience but soon IR dragged them into it by the “Kabadi Kabadi” piece. This piece ended with “Sendhoora poovae” song for which IR made correction on the stage itself as the orchestra was missing some note. To a layman’s ears, it sounded the same all the time, but IR stopped and corrected the orchestra and they played it right third time. It was like a glimpse of how IR does a recording in the studio and teaches his notes to the orchestra.

The “3 in 1” is great but they could have performed in one stretch without any interruptions. A lot of improvisation is done on the Italian concert version of this song. I think IR is obsessed with this counterpoints, because even in this piece IR sang the Tamil lyrics of the song and Shreya Ghosal sung the Telugu lyrics in parallel. I thought the Telugu lyrics fit the tune well than the Tamil one. Tamil lyrics are penned by Vaali.

The “Olangal” piece is also a lot different from the Italian concert version in terms of orchestration. The tabla is replaced by Sivamani’s drums and the lead violin is replaced by IR’s vocals. It would have been better if they have performed it as it was in the Italian concert but with Sivamani’s drums and string section.

Many of them came and praised IR and worthy speech were given only by two of them Kamal Haasan and Vaali. Kamal Haasan was requested to sing but he refused telling that he need rehearsals to sing live in such concerts. I thought he would sing “Thenpandi seemayile” along with IR but he didn’t. Vaali was full of praises for IR and also IR praised vaali in return stating how well he writes lines that fits to T with the tune taking “Sundari kannal oru” song as example.

In the finale on audience request IR sung “Masatra sothi” part from Thiruvasagam. It was really a divine experience to listen to IR singing alone with a mild rhythm in the background.

And the grand show came to an end with “Veetukku veedu” song. The audience were energetic enough to dance and clap for this song even after 5 hour long concert. The song ended with lot of vocal jathis by IR accompanied by Sivamani. It is also not performed as it was in Italy. Then Sivamani took over the audience with a mind-blowing on his drums.


Cinefan said...

Thanks Suresh for a gr8 review.

Nithya Swaminathan said...

nice review... but i feel u were a tad disappointed with the concert, is that so?

after reading that a lot of recent numbers were included, i felt really bad... Khajuraho or even Mayil pola for that matter doesnt deserve a place ahead of Ilamai idho idho, Andhi Mazhai pozhigiradhu etc... Wonder why IR included these recent numbers...

xperienceblog said...

Good review.

Recent number were not that receptive bcoz we were tuned to 80s style.

Maestro is constantly reinventing His own style. So expecting his stlyes of 80s for 21st century songs is not right. As a bassist I can thoroughly convinced that Raaja always reinvents himself. I also understand that his 80s and 90s are alltime hits(even I prefer 80s songs to his recent ones); and we are not that much advanced to understand his 21st century music.

To throw an example: Ilangaathu Bass is totally offbeat.. Damn different

Ennai thaalaata varuvaalo: Also damn different; used a Bass like a viola.

Poopoothatu (MX): Perfect Jazzy melody - perfect to limits.

And right: for the first time I am educated about Village songs and came to know that Tamil Nadu has its own Sadugudu songs instead of Kabaddi.

I can talk and talk and talk about His intricacies.

Splendid job amidst your tight work schedules.


Dinakar said...

Good review dude...
Felt like being there in the concert itself...

Suresh Kumar said...

nitya: i am not at all disappointed with the concert, i have just mentioned its flaws, but overall i was happy to be there and enjoyed every bit of it.

vignesh: thanx for ur indepth details. First of all, i don't see as IR's old song or new song. I consider it just as an IR song, ever it has a class of its own be it the new ones as you people call it and that is why i nowhere mentioned about the selection of songs in my post.

rekhs said...

i am new to ur blog-site
the only blog i have shared my views so far is BB's thots...
I actually accidentally stepped on it!and its a joy to meet like minded ppl
v interesting read i must say but
didnt u think on the whole sound (mike?) was messed up?
i was googling for a song supposedly by IR w/o instruments,
ref to as a cappella?
wld u hv any clue?

Suresh Kumar said...

hi rekhs,

yeah i know a little bit about it. Capella is a form of music in which there will be a lead singer and a choir following him without any backing instruments and IR has done that in "Polla Vinayaen" song from "Thiruvasagam", there is part where IR sings "Namachivaya vazhgha" and the chorus follows him without any instruments.

Anonymous said...

Hi Suresh,

I watched IR's Live in Concert from Malaysia for the past 3 days and wanted to get a VCD of it , do you know how I can get it or maybe purchase online.
My email address vilves.kesavamurthy@gmail.com

Suresh Kumar said...

the talks are on with Jaya TV to release the function in VCD/DVD's but not sure when it would be officially released. Will let you know when there is a concrete information about it.

日月神教-任我行 said...