Rewind with Raja: A feast for the king
Ahead of the upcoming Ilaiyaraaja concert, Isai Celebrates Isai, the Isaignani, in this column, reflects on an old photo of his from the TNIE archive
‘This photograph was taken around the release of Thevar Magan. Sivaji anna and I share a lot of memories together. He was a person who loved me with all his heart. While others preferred to call me Raaja, he lovingly called me, Raasa.
Once he had come to Prasad Studios to dub for a film, and I was working on the background score of one of his films, Rishimoolam, in the adjacent studio. I usually reach my studio before 7:30 am, but on that particular day, I got delayed by five minutes. When I entered the studio, I was surprised to see Sivaji anna waiting near the parking lot. In his trademark style, he asked, "Enna raasa, neeyuma late-a?" (Are you also coming late these days, raasa?) I quipped, "Naan late illa; neenga dhaan 25 varsham munnadi vandhuteenga." (I'm not late; you arrived 25 years ahead of me). He laughed his heart out and exclaimed, “Ada paavi!” He made me have lunch with him that day, and had people bring food for me from his home.
As Sivaji anna's home food is famous for its non-vegetarian dishes and I'm a vegetarian, I looked at him anxiously when he told me I would be having food from his home. He understood and said, "I know you're a vegetarian. Kavala padaadha." He made me sit next to him, and made sure I tasted all the vegetarian dishes. I can never forget that feast Sivaji anna threw for me.'