Feb 5, 2023

My Favorite 9 : Love duets composed by Ilaiyaraaja

My favorite top 9 romantic duet Tamil songs composed by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja...It was a very tough task to filter down just 9 among the hundreds of my favorite Raaja duet melodies. But finally this is my list for various reasons.

1. Valaioosai kalakalakalavena ( movie : Sathya, 1988) 

This evergreen song from the 80s was written by Kavingar Vaali and sung by the legends SP Balasubramanium (SPB) and Lata Mangeshkar. Lataji's voice adds a "chill" to the breezy sindhu bairavi composition by Raaja. The perfect song if you are on a long drive or sitting on a bus by the window with the breeze on your face! Watch out for the quirky bass line. Love the picturization of the song and the onscreen chemistry between Kamal hassan and Amla..

2. Kaadhal kavidhaikal ( movie : Gopura Vasalile, 1991)

A feel good romantic song penned by Piraisudan and sung beautifully by SPB and Chithra. Raaja has deftly used the Maya maalava gowlai ragam with his trademark strings and flute combo interludes to give us a peppy melody. 

3. Pothi vechha ( movie: Mann vaasanai, 1983)

Kavingar Vairamuthu's flawless lyrics form the base for this rustic yet sophisticated composition by Raaja. This is arguably one of Raaja sir's best preludes. Singers SPB and S.Janaki have given life to the song with their playfully romantic expressions. The 1st interlude almost starts like a symphony with violins that settle into a short guitar line which seamlessly culminates with nadaswaram and thavil....unbelievable transformation possible only by the maestro. The clap portion that follows is just magical. The 2nd interlude is another masterpiece with flute and strings. A truly magical composition!

4. Vaa vaa Anbe Anbe (movie: Agni Natchathiram, 1988) 

Sivaranjani is a ragam generally associated with pathos ..but in the hands of Raaja, it has transformed into some of the most lingering romantic melodies. This song is one such gem.. It is written by kavingar Vaali and beautifully rendered by Yesudas and Chithra. 

5. Nee partha paarvaikoru nandri ( movie: Hey Ram, 2000)

This song is a treat to the ears by singers Asha Bhosle and Hariharan. Kamal hassan himself has penned the lyrics and Raaja mesmerizes me with this soulful composition. The Bengali poetry recited by Rani Mukerjee along with the Piano prelude played by the great Viji Manuel adds the required sensuality to launch the song into a blissful orbit. Mesmerizing!

6. Kodiyilae Malliyappu (Movie: Kadalora kavidhaigal, 1986)

A song that I can hear on the loop in the soulful voice of singer Jayachandran along with S.Janaki. Vairamuthu's lyrics add color to this awesome composition by Raaja. The interplay of Violins, Violas, cellos, flutes with Viji Manuel's Keyboard give the song a symphonic grandness yet there is a tenderness overall. Watch out for the Bass underlines that are unique to Raaja. Truly an Ilaiyaraaja Masterpiece !

7. Roja ondru mutham (movie : Komberi Mookan,  1984)

One of my all time favorites, this song is very delicately sung by SPB and S.Janaki. Vairamuth has penned the soothing lyrics. Raaja almost has composed a romantic lullaby that literally is honey to our ears! Watch out for the second interlude that goes out of the box and returns gracefully back to the song!

Another version of the same song is Theeram thedi olam padi with a completely different orchestration and treatment by Raaja in the Malayalam movie Unaru that came in the same year.

8. O Butterfly (movie: Meera, 1992)

Kavingar Vaali has peened this beautiful number. The legend SPB takes the sung to another level. The female voice is another legend Asha Bhosle. However I always have felt that a younger female voice could have added more sensuality to the song. I love how SPB improvises this song on live stage performances ! Please watch out for Raaja's mesmerizing Chromatic string arrangements towards the fag end of the song ...  goosebumps guaranteed !

Oh butterfly is personally special to me as this was the first song I learnt to play Bass guitar - taught by Shamim, my Music guru at college. 

9. Poo vaadai Kaatru ( movie : Gopurangal saivadhillai, 1982)

You might find this a surprise choice in the list. If you have not heard it, please do so with ear phones to truly enjoy this intricately playful composition by Raaja. Just listening to the running Bass lines is enough to take you to heaven! With Vairamuthu's cool lyrics and extraordinary rendition by S.Janaki and Krishnachandran , this song should have received more attention.  

Bonus song that almost made to the top :

Also Visit Love duets in Ilaiyaraaja's voice for my favorite 9 sung by Ilayaraaja  himself.

So what is your top 9 Raaja duets?


  1. It is definitely a difficult question to answer. But, aside from what you've mentioned, I'd like to share a few songs that I really enjoyed from Ilaiyaraja.
    Oru Jeevan, Geethanjali
    Inthaman from Karagattakaran
    Kadhal Oviyam from Alaigal Oivathillai
    Kanmani Anbodu from Guna
    Muthamizhe Muthamizhe, Raman Abdullah
    Senthazhampoovil, from Mullum Malarum
    Sundari Neeyum Sundaran Naanum, Mickle mathana....
    Thendral Vanthu Theendum Pothu, Avatharam 
    Elangaathu Veesudhey, Pithamagan

  2. Great list Jeevan. You share my taste :)
    In fact you will find most of your choice in my other post that lists my favorite duets sung by Ilayaraaja himself. Hence I have excluded those here. Kanmani anbodu , Sundari neeyum and Elangathu were also there in my mind but had to skip them in the final list of 9...Senthazampovil is not a duet so i didn't add it. But will surely be in my male solo list.

  3. Though there is language berrier still music is beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing

    1. Glad you liked them Baili :)

  4. Wonderful selection of songs! Thanks for sharing. Take care, have a great week!

    1. Thanks eileeninmd :) hope u enjoyed

  5. I'm not familiar with your music or songs however I listened and enjoyed. Loved no 4 and the stereo of that one.

    1. Glad to know you loved no 4 Margaret. All the songs from that movie are extraordinary!

  6. Enjoyed listening though can't understand the words :)

    1. Thanks m'eye ..yes, music is beyond languages !

  7. Thank you for sharing the songs. Have a wonderful week.

  8. They aren't famliar to me but they are quite lovely.

  9. the instrumental music in these is really fantastic. talented musicians!!

    1. Happy to know you liked them Debbie

  10. Sorry, I couldn't play any of the videos. Valerie

  11. So many exciting and beautiful songs. Of course, it's #2 that stands out the most to me. I so love bollywood movies! Oh, the dancing. Such a great way to keep the movie exciting!

  12. Thanks Ellie.. #2 is a great song indeed!

  13. Anonymous10:19 PM

    Kodiyilae Malliyappu -- I love it! I think what added to the beauty of the film was that lovely old church. I wonder which village/ town it is.