Indian cinema's three biggest stars — Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan — shared the stage together to pay tribute to music maestro Ilaiyaraaja at an event here.
Ilaiyaraaja's musical achievements were the highlight of the event last evening as the three stars shared their experiences of working with the great composer.
The event also saw the launch of R Balki's upcoming directorial venture 'Shamitabh', which has been composed by Ilaiyaraaja and stars Bachchan, Dhanush and Haasan's younger daughter Akshara, who is making her Bollywood debut with the film.
"I am not a trained actor and I came in this industry accidentally. Without your (Ilaiyaraaja) music I don't think I could have come this far. It's been 15 years now and every day is full of your music. Every shot is full of your music. I draw my emotions from your music. Thank you Raaja sir for everything," Bachchan, 72, said.
"We have heard about his music and legendary fan following... We have heard how his name sold movies. We have heard that his name is close to the God in the world of music and we all are here to pay tribute to this divine musician of cinema," Bachchan added.
Sharing his experience of working with Ilaiyaraaja, Rajinikanth, 64, said he shared a very old bond with the composer.
"I know Raaja sir from early '70s. He was a very naughty and mischievous person at that time. We both used to gossip and used to have our drinks together till morning. And suddenly, I saw a transformation in Raaja sir which extended to his dressing style. And then I started calling him Raaja swami. He is a saint now and mata Saraswati lives in him."
Haasan, 60, who has worked with Ilaiyaraaja in several films, said, "Out of his 1000 films, 10 per cent are mine. He created the songs but we own it. After his transformation, I started calling him my brother. And today after 40 years for the first time I hugged him. I knew that he would reach the number of 1000 one day."
Refuting rumours of 'Shamitabh' is the 1000th music composition of the 71-year-old musician, Balki said, "Let me clarify one thing, 'Shamitabh' is not Ilaiyaraaja's 1000th film. He will reach the milestone with Bala's upcoming Tamil film 'Tharai Thappattai'. We are here to celebrate that... 1000 is just a number. We don't need any excuse to celebrate Raaja sir."
The evening also witnessed performances by Big B, Dhanush along with singer Shreya Ghoshal and Suraj Jagan.
"I am thankful to Rajini sir that he came for this function. When I signed 'Shamitabh' I never expected that something like this will happen in my career," Dhanush said.
The event was also attended by eminent personalities like Sridevi, husband Boney Kapoor, Shruti Haasan, Gulzar, Tabu, Abhishek and wife Aishwariya Rai Bachchan.