Still from the film Annakili (1976), which also happened to be Ilayaraja’s first stint as a composer.
Annakili (1976) was directed by Devaraj-Mohan and written by Panchu Arunachalam, mostly into the books of the cult classics of Tamil Cinema. It was also the debut film for Maestro Ilayaraja. After hearing the songs from Ilayaraja personally, Panchu thought about making a movie with those songs and Annakili happened. Panchu added the prefix ‘Ilaya’ to the name ‘Raja’ as there was already an A.M. Raja, and hence Ilayaraja was born. The film was a big success at the box office. The biggest highlight of the movie was Ilayaraja’s music. Panchu Arunachalam started his career as a lyricist with the song Manamagale Marumagale Vaa Vaa (Sarada, 1962). He started his own production house P.A. Art Productions, with his wife Meena credited as the producer. The first film from their banner was the Kamal Haasan-starrer Kalyanaraman (1979).