Music maestro Ilayaraja, who has worked on over 1,000 Indian films in his illustrious career spanning over four decades, will be making his English debut with cross-cultural romantic drama Love and Love Only.
He has composed 21 tracks for the self-funded debut production of Indian-Australian filmmaker Julian Karikalan.
“Anyone who has grown up listening to Raja sir’s music, wouldn’t miss an opportunity to work with him,” Julian said.
When stumbled upon a video link where Ilayaraja expressed his interest to work with deserving newcomers, Julian decided to approach him.
Given the budget of the film, was he sure he could afford the legendary composer?
“The kind of budget on which I started my film, he was definitely not affordable. But I decided to increase my budget, if he would agree to come on board. Thankfully, it was needed as Raja sir was aware of the shoestring budget of the film and agreed to charge very less,” he said.
Asked what excited the maestro the most about his project, Julian said: “He told me there wasn’t any special reason, but he liked my filmmaking style and my distribution approach. I don’t plan to release the film in cinemas but instead plan to explore the VHX and Amazon’s video-on-demand platform.”
Ilayaraja was also charmed by the powerful, romantic drama about a working class Australian girl and an international student from India.
Talking about the experience of witnessing the legend at work, Julian said he was mesmerized.
“After he watched the film, he made me wait for a couple of hours. He didn’t say a word and that made me very nervous. I assumed he didn’t like the film. When he finally met me, he told me he needed time to think about the musical treatment,” he said.
“This being an English film, he told me he wants to think how differently he can contribute. I was blown away by his ability to compose tunes, especially the background score. Usually, he finishes composing in a few hours but it took him five days for my film,” he added.
Born in Madurai, Julian shifted to Australia in 2003. Since he was working during the week, he made “Love and Love Only” during the weekends over the course of three years.
The film has already received two awards (Best Musical Score and Best Direction) after its preview screening at the International Film and Entertainment Festival of Australia last December. It is set for online commercial release early next year.
It stars Indian-Australian actor Rohit Kalia and Sydney-based actress Georgia Nicholas in the lead roles. The supporting cast includes Ambika Asthana, Sashi Dandekar and Suparna Mallick among others.