Kamal Haasan has sung a song for the incredibly accomplished composing maestro Ilaiyaraaja, and that too at just half an hour’s notice. This happened when the singer originally assigned to render the intricate composition couldn’t rise to the occasion.
“Get me Kamal on the phone,” Ilaiyaraaja commanded his assistant. Within an hour, Haasan reached the recording studio in Chennai and in 30 minutes, the ‘ditty’ deed was done. The song was for the Pankaj Kapoor-starrer Happi, which is a tribute to Charlie Chaplin. And Haasan is a diehard Chaplin fan. The Tamil genius has paid heartfelt tributes to the silent-era legend in films like Pushpak and Saagar.
But the real incentive for rushing in where other professional singers tremble to venture, was his ardent devotion to Ilaiyaraaja. Happi director, Bhavna Talwar, comments, “It all happened in a flash. We were in Chennai to record this amazing composition titled Zindagi Dish, written by Jaideep Sahni. Raja sir (Ilaiyaraaja) was not getting what he wanted. The singer who was assigned to do the job wasn’t getting it right. Raja sir asked his assistant to contact Kamalji. Within no time, he was in the studio.”
Haasan brushed off the feat as just another part of the day’s work. “My respect for certain people goes beyond the workplace. Sivaji Ganesan, K. Balachander and Ilaiyaraaja are to me, idols. And if they call, I run. As simple as that.”...