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Great Indian Composers.

Here I'm presenting Great Indian Composers who have Composed great Music numbers and made the nation proud.



ILAIYARAAJA (born June 2, 1943) is an Indian film composer, having composed for over 1000 albums (films) over a career of more than 28 years. He is often called 'Isaingyani' (Musical genius) by his fans and the Tamil cinema fraternity.

Ilaiyaraaja was born in a rural family in Pannaipuram near Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. Although he did not have any formal education, he completed a course in classical guitar (higher local) with a gold medal at the Trinity College of Music in London.

His first movie, Annakkili, was instrumental in bringing about a fusion of Tamil folk music and Tamil film music. He won the national Best Film Music Composer award three times for the Tamil movie Sindhu Bhairavi (1986), and for the Telugu movies Saagara Sangamam (1984) & Rudra Veena (1988). He is the first Asian to compose a full symphony for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). His music is mainly associated with the '80s, the decade during which he was most prolific. After his symphony he was came to be called by the name Maestro Ilayaraja. Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi christened him Isai Gnani (translates to Musical Genius).

Ilaiyaraaja is credited with a truly unique orchestration technique, which involves blending of western and Indian instruments. He usually comes up with a tune initially and the lyrics are added later on.

Besides scoring music for Tamil, Telugu and other Indian films, Ilaiyaraaja has written two fusion albums, blending western classical with Carnatic ragas. The first, How To Name It?, was dedicated to Carnatic composer Tyagaraja and Johann Sebastian Bach. The title of the second, Nothing But Wind, suggests that music is a natural phenomenon akin to wind. Ilayaraja has also composed a set of classical Carnatic numbers which U. Srinivas has played. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, one of the doyens of Carnatic music, acknowledged and appreciated this album for the appropriate selection of Ragas and Sahityams.

In 2002, his composition "Rakkama Kaiya Thattu" from the movie Thalapathi stayed at the top of a BBC list of the best songs. He was the music composer for the Miss World 1996 Pageantry, held in Bangalore. His latest score for the famous Kamal Hassan's movie is Mumbai Xpress (2005), with several elements that give it a Jazz appeal.

His most recent work is that of the Thiruvasagam in Symphony which is an Oratorio of Thiruvasagam with Symphony orchestration. This effort received rave reviews from critics and the general public and is a mega success.

In 2002, his composition "Rakkama Kaiya Thattu" from the movie Thalapathi stayed at the top of a BBC list of the best songs. He was the music composer for the Miss World 1996 Pageantry, held in Bangalore. His latest score for the famous Kamal Hassan's movie is Mumbai Xpress (2005), with several elements that give it a Jazz appeal.

His most recent work is that of the Thiruvasagam in Symphony which is an Oratorio of Thiruvasagam with Symphony orchestration. This effort received rave reviews from critics and the general public and is a mega success.

Some of his Successful Tamil Film Albums

* 16 Vayathinilae (has National Award winning song "Sendhoora Poove" sung by S. Janaki)

* Agni Natchatram

* Alaigal Oivathillai

* Anjali (500th Film)

* Azhagi (has National Award winning song "Paattu solli pada solli" sung by Sadhana Sargam)

* Bharathi (has National Award winning song "Mayil pola" sung by Bhavatharini Illayaraja)

* Chinna Thambi

* Dalapathi

* Devar Magan (600th Film - has National Award winning song " Inji Idupazhaga" sung by S. Janaki and Kamal Hassan)

* Ejamaan

* Guna

* Hey Ram

* Karakaatakaran

* Mouna Ragam

* Nineivellam Nithya

* Idhayam

* Idhaya Koil

* Johnny

* Kadolara Kavithaikal

* Mannan

* Mella Thiranthathu Kathavu (scored music along with M.S.Vishwanathan)

* Moondram Pirai

* Mouna Ragam

* Mudhal Mariyathai (has National Award winning song "Poongatru Thirumbuma" lyrics by Vairamuthu)

* Mumbai Xpress

* Nallavanukku Nallavan

* Nayakan (400th film)

* Nizhalgal

* Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal

* Punnagai Mannan

* Salangai Oli (has National Award winning song "Thagida Thathimi" sung by SP Balasubramaniam and National award for Illayaraaja)

* Sigappu Rojakkal

* Sinthu Bhairavi (winning National Award)

* Siraichaalai

* Siva

* Tic..Tic..Tic..

* Udhaya Geetham

* Velaikaaran

* Virumandi (sandiyar)

His Other Albums

* Thiruvasakam

* How to name it?

* Nothing But Wind (Flute played by Hariprasad Chaurasia)

* Rajavin Ramanamaalai

* Illayaraja's Geethanjali

* India 24 Hours

* A Symphonic suite in five movements with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra(RPO) of London. Conducted by John Scott. Recorded in 1993. Yet to be released.

His Literary Works

* Sangeetha Kanavugal (Musical Dreams - about European tour)

* Vettaveli thanil kotti kidakkuthu (Poems)

* Vazhithuna

* Gnagna Ganga

* Paal Nila Paathai

* Unmaikku Thirai Yethu?

* Yaarukku Yaar Ezhuthuvathu?

* En Narambu Veena

A.R. Rahman

A.R. Rehman is the new millennium composer, who goes from strength to strength with the release of each one of his films. He has got no inflated ego despite his phenomenal success as a music composer. His technical wizardry is well complemented by his artistic innovation. He was born into a musician’s family as Dileep Kumar in Chennai. His father K.A. Sekhar had his hay days as a coordinator and conductor in Malayalam movies and had worked under the wings of Salil Chowdhary and Devarajan. Dileep was sent to learn piano at a tender age of four.

When Dileep was barely nine years old his father fell ill and succumbed to the mysterious and undiagnosed illness. And the rumour mill, working overtime, found him as a victim of black magic by his jealous rivals. Pity, the pressure of supporting his financially strained family fell on the young boys shoulders. As a mere kid aged eleven, he went to work in Illayaraja's troupe as a keyboard player. It was his strong mother Kareema Begum who seemed to have cheered him to put his feet in his father’s shoes. But all this left him with no time to spare for school. Irregular attendance and the unsympathetic management made him change the school, from the prestigious Padma Seshadri Bal Bhavan to the Madras Christian College School and finally the young boy, caught badly between the two ends, dropped out of school.

In the year 1988, one of his sisters fell seriously ill and many attempts to cure her failed. Her health broke down completely. As a last ditch effort, the family approached and begged for the girl’s life at the doors of a Muslim fakir - Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani or better known as Pir Qadri. The saint cast his spiritual powers on the suffering girl, and Dileep's sister made a quick and miraculous recovery. Traumatized by the bad experience and influenced by the teachings of the Pir, the entire family embraced Islam, as their faith. Dileep Kumar became known as Allah Rakha Rahman, thereafter.

He also played on the orchestra of M.S. Vishwanathan and Ramesh Naidu and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours. This experience enabled him to earn a scholarship at the famed Trinity College of Music at Oxford University, from where he obtained a degree in Western Classical Music. After he returned, he continued to be a part of various music troupes. He was also a part of local rock bands like Roots, Magic and Nemesis Avenue where he performed with his future colleagues like Ranjit Barot and Sivamani.

Vizi Manuel, the lead keyboard player in Illayaraja's troupe, advised him to try other alternatives like advertising. Fortunately for Dileep he soon got his first break in advertising when he was asked to compose the jingle to promote Allwyn's new trendy range of watches, in 1987. The ads were a success and Dileep's work in them was appreciated. Dileep moved full time into advertising as a few offers came his way. Thus began Dileep's 5-year saga in advertising where he went on to compose more than 300 jingles. Rahman did a lot of popular ads like those for Parry's, Leo Coffee, Boost featuring Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, Titan, Premier Pressure Cooker, Hero Puch and Asian Paints. The jingles that he composed for the Leo Coffee ad starring Aravind Swamy and the Asian Paints ad directed by Rajeev Menon also won him awards and recognition. He also won an award for composing the theme music of the Madras Telugu Academy's & Spirit of Unity& ; Concerts.

In 1989, he started a small studio of his own, called;Panchathan Record Inn’, attached to his house. This later developed into one of India's most well equipped and advanced recording studios. In his established state-of-the-art sound and recording studio he began experimenting sound engineering, design and production. He also began a collection of sound samples, creating one of the most comprehensive sonic libraries in Asia.

During his stint in advertising, he released his first album, of Muslim devotional songs, titled `Deen Isai Malai'. This was followed by `Set Me Free', an album of English songs from Magnasound. This was the launch album of singer Malgudi Subha, and Dileep set the songs to tune. Both the albums went unnoticed in the market. At an advertising awards function Maniratnam chanced upon a young man receiving the award for the best ad jingle, which he had composed for the popular Leo Coffee ad. At the party that followed the awards presentation ceremony Maniratnam was introduced to the young composer by his cousin Sharada Trilok of Trish Productions for which the young man had worked. Mani requested for a sample of his wares. The composer readily complied and invited the director over to his studio where he played out a tune that his school friend G. Bharat alias Bala who had been greatly disturbed by the Cauvery river tensions, had pushed him into composing. Mani was hooked instantly. He signed on the composer to score the music for his next film, which was to be produced by the veteran Tamil director K. Balachander. That film was Roja;. That tune would become the song "Tamizha Tamizha". Rahman became a household name in Tamil Nadu overnight and the score of `Roja' was the first step in changing the face of Indian film music. `Roja' won every conceivable award in music that year. Rahman also got the ;Rajat Kamal; for best music director at the National Film Awards, the first time ever by a debutante. He left ads and moved into film music full time.

In the five years since Roja, he has created music for blockbuster Indian films including Pudhiya Mugam,Gentleman,Kizhaku Seemaiyilae,Duet,Kadalan,Bombay,May Madham,Indian,Muthu,Kadhal Desam,Love Birds and others. His 1995 soundtrack for Bombay crossed 5 million units and Rahman had arrived as the "King of Indian Pop" with sales of more than 40 million albums over a period of 3 years.

In the movie Bombay Rahman formally took to playback singing. Rahman had lent his voice to his compositions earlier too but they had been part of the chorus or bit pieces like `Marhaba' in `Urvashi' in `Kadhalan' or background pieces and interludes like `Yelelo' in `Chinna Chinna Aasai' in `Roja'. But `Hamma Hamma' in `Bombay' was Rahman's first complete song.

In 1996, when Rahman had gone to Bombay to attend the Screen Awards ceremony, he met his childhood friend G. Bharat. During this meeting both had discussed a proposal for an album to commemorate 50 years of Indian Independence. In 1997, the International music giant, Sony Music, whose portfolio included the likes of Michael Jackson, entered the Indian market in a big way. They were looking to promote Indian artistes internationally. And the first person to be signed up by Sony Music from the Indian sub-continent was A.R. Rahman, on a 3-album contract. Rahman suggested the idea that he had discussed with Bharat to Sony Music India and was immediately accepted. Called `Vandemataram', it was a tribute to the motherland and featured songs to mark the 3 colours of the Indian Flag. `Vandemataram' was released simultaneously in 28 countries across the world under the prestigious Columbia Label of Sony Music on August 15th 1997. Rahman himself performed live at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence to a packed audience that comprised of the Prime Minister of India. The album was a mega success and sold over 1.2 million copies in India and did reasonably well internationally too.

At the age of 32, Rahman has already worked with internationally reputed artistes like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Apache Indian, Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Dominic Miller, L. Shankar, Kadri Gopalnath, Vikku Vinayakram, Ustad Sultan Khan and Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt among many others. On a recent trip to India, David Byrne met Rahman and was so impressed that he went on to record some sessions with Rahman for a project he is currently completing (as yet unreleased). Rahman lists among his favourites Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Carpenters, Carnatic, Rock and fusion.

He credits all his inspiration and success to Allah.

Rahul Dev Burman

Hindi composer also known as Pancham. Entered films as assistant to his father S.D.Burman,often playing the mouth organ in his father's orchestras.Trained under Ali Akbar Khan.

Independent career coincided with the the wave of early 70's Rajesh Khanna love stories (esp. Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Apna Desh ) and the new lease of life they offered to singer Kishore Kumar. Informally assisted his father in composing the seminal Khanna-Kumar combination, Shakti Samanta's Aradhana (1969). Breakthrough in Nasir hussain musicals,starting with Baharon ki Sapne and consoldated by the classic Zeenat Aman rock music teen-movie Yaadon Ki Baraat, having earlier scored her debut Hare Rama Hare Krishna

Some of his best music is assosiated with Gulzar's lyrics, e.g. Parichay and Aandhi.Brought Hindi film music into the era of electronic rock with a series of enormously popular youth movies,e.g, Narendra Bedi's Jawani Diwani. Worked mostly with singers Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar, providing much of the music that defines their reputations. Also produced independent albums, including one based on the samba and one with british pop star Boy George

Occasionally sang his own songs in a unique, grunting bass (e.g. the Mehbooba mehbooba number in Sholay ). 1942 : A Love Story, his last film released after his death, was a major musical success.


These two talented brothers, Jatin and Lalit, have rocked the industry for a considerable span of years. Jatin-Lalit are the sons of the prominent classical singer, Pandit Pratap Narayan and nephews of Pandit Jasraj, grand master of Hindustani classical music. However th eduo have developed a unique sense of music different from their classical lineage. They were trained by their own father and Pandit Ramprasadji during their childhood. They also learned to play piano, guitar and various forms of percussion instruments.

They started their career with film Yaara Dildara (1992) but were much recognized by the hit film Khiladi that was a sound prototype for the brand of music the composers were to create in subsequent years.With Khiladi (1992), came their vibrant soundtrack laced with nuggets like Waada raha sanam‚Dekha teri mast nigahon mein‚ the talented duo announced their arrival in style. From the beginning, there has been a distinct, almost over-whelming influence of the R D Burman school on their work . For instance the song from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) Shaher ki pariyon ke peechhe‚ has shades of R D Burman's music.Also Ruk jaa, o dil deewane‚ from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge sounds similar to Bachchna aye haseenon from Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (1977).

But still they have a distintive style of composing as is evident from their later songs like the soft, piano-heavy romantic duet,Pehla Nasha‚ is in a class of its own. After two major time succcesses Khiladi and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar happened Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992) and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, which had numbers like Loveria hua‚ and Deewana, dil deewana‚.

They were steppping up the stairs of success consistently and yet another blockbluster Yash Chopra's love story Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge gave them immense success.And Jatin -Lalit shot to genuine stardom. From the title song to Mere khwabon mein‚ and Naa jaane mere‚ everywas a diferent flavour of youth and vibrancy.

Their next venture was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Khamoshi-The Musical.Its songs were a challenge to each singer like Yeh dil sun raha hai sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy with its varying pitch, and the Hariharan's Bahon ke darmiyaan‚ .Followed were films Yes Boss,containing songs, Main koi aisa geet gaaon‚ and Chaand taare‚ .In 1998 came a series of musical hits for the duo like Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya ;Deewana Main Chala‚ , Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai (O jaana, na jaana‚) and Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (Jab kisi ki taraf dil), to Ghulam and it's clarion call, Aati kya Khandala‚ and the final explosion, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.The songs of the later film like Koi mil gaya‚ Ladki badi anjaani hai‚ and Sajanji ghar aaye‚ aren't extraordinary, they haven't exactly faded from public memory.

Dil Kya Kare, Khoobsurat (1999) and Shah Rukh Khan's home production, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000),Sarfarosh(1999) containing Zindagi Maut Na Ban Jaaye‚ are some of the projects they have done in the recent years.Followed by al time hits like Mohabbatein , Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, and Chalte Chalte that had refreshing numbers like ' Tauba Tumhaare Yeh Ishaare', ' Chalte Chalte' .. Definitely they have created their own charm with the kind of music they compose.

Having successfully done film music, the brothers Jatin-Lalit are now turning their sights towards a private album. Between their film assignments, they are working on a pop album and Lalit will sing for that as well. They have a fine sense of melody and harmony, now if they can get hold of some soul-stirring lyrics, they will have a winner on their hands.

Awards And Honors:

Zee Cine Award Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Viewers Choice Award Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Nadeem-Shravan (sometimes credited as Nadeem Shravan)

is a music director duo in the Bollywood film industry of India. The duo derives its name from the first names of its two principals, Nadeem Saifi and Shravan Rathod.

Nadeem-Shravan are one of the most successful music directors of the 1990s. They are known for their catchy songs that feature a strong rhythm (often accentuated by Latin percussion instruments) and great melodies. Major Hindi playback singers such as Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, Anuradha Paudwal, and many others have sung under their baton.

Nadeem and Shravan met in 1972 at a function and decided to get together as a composer duo. Their first film was 'Dangal in 1979' but nothing much came of it. They then composed the music for the hit films Ilaka, Hisaab Khoon Ka, and Lashkar; however, while the films were great, the music was not talked about much.

Nadeem-Shravan's fortunes changed forever with the release of director Mahesh Bhatt's Aashiqui (1990). This film made mega-stars out of Nadeem-Shravan and singer Kumar Sanu, and won Nadeem-Shravan their first Filmfare Best Music Director Award. Aashiqui remains to this day the highest-selling Bollywood film soundtrack of all time.

1991 saw Nadeem-Shravan continue to rise with Lawrence D'Souza's Saajan (for which they won their second Filmfare Award) and another collaboration with Mahesh Bhatt in Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin. Sadak and Phool Aur Kaante proved to be two other hit scores for them in 1991. In 1992, they provided the music for Shah Rukh Khan's film debut, Deewana, for which they won a third Filmfare Award. In 1993, they scored Mahesh Bhatt's Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, written by Aamir Khan and starring Aamir and Juhi Chawla.

Best known for their arrogance (especially Nadeem), in 1997, the team ran into some negative publicity when Nadeem, while on vacation in London, England, was named as a suspect in the murder of his former mentor, record executive Gulshan Kumar (the boss of T-Series Music Company), back in India. His passport became revoked and he was forced to stay in England until the crisis passed. Today, Nadeem still remains in the UK and, despite the immense geographical distance between England and India, he and Shravan continue to make music together.

In the latter half of the 1990s and into the 2000s, Nadeem-Shravan continued to score the music for the movies of the most popular Bollywood film directors, such as Subhash Ghai (Pardes, 1997), Dharmesh Darshan (Raja Hindustani, 1996, Dhadkan, 2000), and Dharmesh's brother Suneel Darshan (Ek Rishtaa, 2001 and Barsaat, 2005). They won their fourth Filmfare Best Music Director Award for Raja Hindustani, as well as a Screen Award, and Pardes netted them another Screen Award. Their score for Raaz in 2002 won them a Zee Cine Award.

Working with the Darshans has proven to be worthwhile for Nadeem-Shravan, since their most recent musical score 'Dosti-Friends Forever' allows their successful compositions to continue to rule the charts today.

The have also been know to take inspirations from other indian and international composers.


S.D. Burman proved that age is no impediment for creativity. He was the only great composer who remained in high demand right till the end of his life, unlike his contemporaries who gradually faded away. His greatest gift lay in the fact he could be equally jazzy and trendy in a dhoti. His grip on Indian folklore, his sound classical base, his capacity to absorb from the scene around him made him the greatest all-rounder in Indian Film Music. And to think he never sat down on a harmonium to compose! His tunes would come to him in a flash on a long walk or a drive or even out fishing at sea!

Born in the royal family of Tripura in North-East India, he began his training in classical music under his father, sitarist and Dhrupad singer Nabadwipchandra Dev Burman. He later continued his training under Ustad Badal Khan and Bhismadev Chattopadhaya.

His early work for radio was based on East Bengali and North-Eastern folk-music. In the early 1930s he made a reputation for himself as a singer of folk and light classical music. (Consequently his film compositions were often influenced by his huge repertory of folk-tunes from the Bengali, Bhatiali, Sari and Dhamail traditions of the North-East)

He made his film debut singing in Yahudi ki Ladki (1933) but the songs were scrapped and re-sung by Pahadi Sanyal! His first film as a singer was finally Sanjher Pidim (1935). He became a music director initially in Calcutta in the late 1930s before moving to Bombay in 1944.

In Bombay, he began with Filmistan's Eight Days (1946) but his first major breakthrough came the following year with the company's Do Bhai (1947). The song Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya sung by Geeta Dutt is remembered till today and was her breakthrough song into the film industry!

Shabnam (1949) was his biggest hit with Filmistan with the multi-lingual song Yeh Duniya Roop ki Chor sung by Shamshad Begum becoming the rage of the day. But disillusioned with the materialism of Bombay, he left the Ashok Kumar starrer Mashaal (1950) incomplete and decided to board the first train back to Calcutta. Fortunately he was dissuaded from doing so.

Burmanda composed the music for Dev Anand's production company, Navketan's first film Afsar (1950). With the success of their second film, Baazi (1951) he made it to the top and a long association with Navketan and Dev Anand was on its way.

Baazi's jazzy musical score revealed a new facet to singer Geeta Dutt's singing. Till then she was mainly known for weepy sad songs and bhajans. The sex appeal in her voice and the ease with which she went western was marvellous to behold. While every song in the film was a raging hit, one stood out for special appeal - Tadbir se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer a ghazal that was occidentalized into a seductive song!

Burmanda could at once be a light and a serious in-depth composer. When Guru Dutt made comparatively light-weight films like Baazi and Jaal (1952), Burmanda reflected their mood with compositions like Suno Gajar Kya Gaye or De Bhi Chuke Hum and when Guru Dutt made his somber masterpieces - Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz ke Phool (1959), he was right on target with Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind and Waqt ne Kiya Kya Haseen Situm.

Burmanda's zest for life showed through his music. He was right there on the front bench to cheer his favourite football or hockey team. Such was his enthusiasm that he once offered music to go with a hockey match! The very name of his house 'The Jet' signified a composer who was up to date with the times.

Ill health caused a slump in his career in the early 1960s but his compositions for Bandini (1963), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967) and Aradhana (1969) showed that S.D. Burman could still dictate trends. Aradhana was responsible in Kishore Kumar's second coming and went on to make him the top male playback singer of Hindi Films.

Burmanda was also responsible along with O.P. Nayyar into shaping Asha Bhosle as a singer of repute. A scrap with Lata Mangeshkar in 1958 led him to using Asha as his main singer in the 1958 - 62 period which saw her go from strength to strength.

As a singer, his thin but powerful voice was often used as bardic commentary e.g. Wahaan Kaun hai Tera from Guide or Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana from Aradhana. Abhimaan (1973) stands out for his outstanding musical score among his later films.

Music is nothing but wind.