A biopic on legendary music director Ilaiyaraaja will be out soon.

The movie — titled ‘Ilaiyaraaja — The king of music’, with actor Dhanush playing the musician and Arun Matheshwaran as director — was announced by actor Kamal Haasan at a function in Chennai on Wednesday.

“I grew up listening to the songs of the legendary Ilayaraja. I always had a dream of acting in the biopic of Ilaiyaraaja and actor Rajinikanth. One will fructify, but don’t know when the other will,” Dhanush said at the function.

The movie will be produced by Connekkt Media - PK Prime Production and Mercuri Movies.

For many, the name Ilaiyaraaja evokes a nostalgic feel. Those born in the 1980s and 90s have travelled along with his music for over four decades, listening to it throughout the day. The legend’s fans are ecstatic as a movie -- Ilaiyaraaja: The King of Music -- chronicling the life of Ilaiyaraaja will be made, with actor Dhanush playing the maestro.

Arun Matheswaran will direct it, and the maestro himself will compose the music .

The movie will chronicle the life and times of Illaiyaraaja, one of India’s greatest music composers. In a career spanning over five decades, he has composed over 7,000 songs for over 1,000 films. He has performed over 20,000 concerts across the globe.

Kamal Haasan’s announcement

Actor Kamal Haasan, who has a close relationship with the composer, on Wednesday launched the film’s first-look poster. “I am always in awe listening to his music,” the actor said. “Tell the truth of what you see. Do not get pressurised,” the actor advised the film’s director. “The film is not just about Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja but about Bharat Ratna Ilaiyaraaja. It’s not our wish but our demand,” he added.”

Speaking at the function, Dhanush said he grew up listening to the songs of the legendary musician. “I always had a dream of acting in the biopic of Ilayaraja and actor Rajinikanth. One will fructify, but don’t know when the other will, As an artist, it’s an honour to be part of this project. I am very happy that the invite came from the maestro himself. I am blessed,” the actor said.

Life history

The movie will trace the history of the 81-year-old music legend from Pannaipuram, now Theni, to the present day. Born as R Gnanathesikanin, Ilayaraaja grew up in a rural area and was exposed to a range of Tamil folk music in his formative years.

At 14, he joined a travelling musical troupe named Pavalar Brothers, headed by his elder brother Pavalar Varadharajan, and spent the next decade performing across South India, according to information on the web.

Ilaiyaraaja moved to Chennai to take a plunge in the cinema at a very early point in his life. In 1975, he got his break when producer Panchu Arunachalam, who was impressed by a song casually sung by Ilayaraja, in 1976 commissioned the musician to compose the songs for his movie Annakili.

The movie was a huge hit, and the legend did not look back. In the last four decades, he went on to score music for over 1,500 movies in various languages, including Tamil, Telegu and Hindi.

In 1986, he became the first Indian composer to record a soundtrack with a computer for the Kamal Haasan film Vikram. He also composed Thiruvasagam in Symphony (2006), the first Indian oratorio.