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Profile picture of Kannadasan.jpg
(1927-06-24)24 June 1927
Sirukoodalpatti, Madras Presidency, British India
(present-day Tamil Nadu, India)
Died17 October 1981(1981-10-17) (aged 54)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Pen nameKaraimuthu Pulavar
OccupationPoet, novelist, lyricist, politician, film producer, literary editor
SubjectPoetry and literature
Notable worksArthamulla Indhu Madham
Yesu Kaaviyam
Notable awards National Film Award for Best Lyrics
1968 Kuzhanthaikkaga
Sahitya Academy Award
1980 Cheraman Kadali
SpousesPonnazhagi (Ponnammal)
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
(m. 1957–1981; his death); 1 daughter

Kannadasan ( Loudspeaker.svg pronunciation  ; 24 June 1927 – 17 October 1981) was an Indian philosopher, poet, film song lyricist, producer, actor, script-writer, editor, philanthropist, and is heralded as one of the greatest and most important lyricists in India. Frequently called Kaviarasu, With over 5000 lyrics, 6000 poems and 232 books, Kannadasan is widely known by the sobriquet Kaviarasu (King of poets) and he is also considered to be the greatest modern Tamil poet after Subramania Bharati. [1] including novels, epics, plays, essays, his most popular being the 10-part religious book on Hinduism, Arthamulla Indhu Matham (Meaningful Hindu Religion). He won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Cheraman Kathali in the year 1980 and was the first to receive the National Film Award for Best Lyrics, given in 1969 for the film Kuzhanthaikkaga . [2] [3]


Personal life

Kannadasan was born to Sathappan Chettiar and Visalakshi Aachi in a Nattukottai Nagarathar family in Sirukoodalpatti, near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu and was given the birth name Muthiah. He was the eighth of ten children to his parents. He was adopted by Chigappi Aachi for a sum of INR 7000 at an early age, who brought him up and was responsible for his early stages of school education. He completed his schooling till the 8th standard in Sirukudalpatti and Amaravathipudhur. He worked for a private company in Tiruvottiyur before taking up an editorial post in a Tamil Magazine where for the first time he took up the pseudonym Kannadasan. He died on October 17, 1981.

Religious views

Muthiaah was a keen follower of the Dravidian atheistic movement. He had great love of Tamil language and its culture, and excelled in Tamil literature, both prose and poetry. He read the Thiruppaavai of Aandaal, and was amazed at its mystic poetry, which had a deep and lasting impact on him. After a lot of introspection, he decided to go back to Hinduism. He renamed himself as Kannadaasan, meaning the servant of Lord Krishna (In Tamil, Kannan means Krishna and in Sanskrit, daasa means servant'. He dug deep into understanding Hinduism, and wrote his series of books on Hinduism titled Arthamulla Indhu Matham. . [4] [5]


Kannadasan's greatest contribution to Tamil culture is his songwriting. Before Kannadasan, many lyricists like Papanasam Sivan, Kambadasan, Vindhan, A. Maruthakasi, and Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam were sought after in the Tamil music industry, but after the advent of Kannadasan, the scene changed. He quickly became the most sought-after lyricist in the industry and remained so until his death. Kannadasan was so popular that some songs written by other contemporary poets were considered to be written by Kannadhasan. Though, film lyrics have come a long way since his death, many people still consider Kannadasan to be the best songwriter.[ citation needed ] He is considered to be the greatest modern Tamil poet after Subramanya Bharathi.[ citation needed ]

He was the producer of the historic Tamil film Sivagangai Seemai portraying Marudhu Pandaiars, one of the pioneers in the Indian freedom struggle. [ citation needed ] The song "Santhupottu" from that film remains popular. [ citation needed ]

Spiritual books

Notable novels



Selected filmography


  1. Singari
  2. Aayirathil oruvan
  3. Mannadhi Mannan
  4. Thaai Sollai Thattadhe
  5. Thaayai Kaatha Thanayan
  6. Paasam
  7. Karuppu Panam
  8. Panathottam
  9. Paava Mannippu
  10. Periya Idathu Penn
  11. Dharmam Thalai Kaakkum
  12. Anandha Jodhi
  13. Needhikkuppin Paasam
  14. Kudumba Thalaivan
  15. Kaanchi Thalaivan
  16. Parisu
  17. Vettaikaaran
  18. Panakkara Kudumbam
  19. Palum Pazhamum
  20. Thiruvilayadal
  21. Saraswathi Sabatham
  22. Pattikada Pattanama
  23. Urimaikural
  24. En Kadamai
  25. Nadodi
  26. Thanga Pathakkam
  27. Lakshmi Kalyanam
  28. Paasa Malar
  29. Moondram Pirai
  30. Iruvar Ullam
  31. Dheerga Sumangali
  32. Aalayam
  33. Annai
  34. Kunkhumam
  35. Naanum Oru Penn
  36. Pazhani
  37. Varumayin Niram Sivappu
  38. Billa
  39. Thee
  40. Deiva Magan
  41. Kalathur Kannamma
  42. Paarthaal Pasi Theerum
  43. Paadha Kaanikkai
  44. Annai Velankanni
  45. Thillu Mullu 1981

As actor, writer and producer

1952 Parasakthi YesNoNo
1954 Illara Jothi NoYesNo
1954 Sugam Enge NoYesNo
1956 Madurai Veeran NoYesNo
1956 Tenali Raman NoYesNo
1957 Mahadhevi NoYesNo
1958 Maalaiyitta Mangai NoYesYes
1958 Nadodi Mannan NoYesNo
1959 Sivagangai Seemai NoYesYes
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan YesYesYes
1960 Mannadhi Mannan NoYesNo
1960 Sangilithevan NoYesNo
1961 Thirudathe NoYesNo
1962 Vanambadi NoNoYes
1962 Sumaithaangi NoNoYes
1963 Ratha Thilagam YesYesNo
1964 Karuppu Panam YesYesNoas blackmailer
1968 Lakshmi Kalyanam NoYesNo
1972 Thiruneelakandar NoYesNo
1973 Suryagandhi YesNoNoas singer in song "Paramasivan Kazhuthilirundhu"
1975 Apoorva Raagangal YesNoNoas himself
1979 Velum Mayilum Thunai YesNoNo
1979 Sigappukkal Mookkuthi NoYesNo
1981 Thillu Mullu NoYesNo
1981Deiva ThirumanangalYesNoNo

Poet laureate

Kannadasan was the poet laureate of the Tamil Nadu government at the time of his death. He wrote two notable autobiographies, titled Vanavasam, a book about his past life whilst he was atheist, with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and a sequel, titled Manavasam a book about his life after he had left DMK.

Contribution to Tamil literature

Kannadasan was a prolific writer and his writing covered a variety of forms- poems, novels, lyrics for Tamil films and books on spirituality. His series titled Arthamulla Indhu Matham (Meaningful Hindu Religion) is known for its simplicity in explaining the principles of Hinduism. Many of Kannadasan's poems have been translated into French. [7] He wrote and published several volumes of poetry. He was an admirer of Kambar, and wrote a number of poems praising Kambar's artistry, contrary to the satire ("Kambarasam") on the same by C.N. Annadurai. He also spoke at several of the Kambar festivals. He sang the beauty of Sita's gait and the shoulders of Rama; he spoke of beauty intoxicating and dropped me in a vessel of amrut (nectar)" This is one of Kannadasan's tribute to the poet Kambar.


Kannadasan died on 17 October 1981 in Chicago, United States, where he had gone from India to attend a Tamil conference organized by the Tamil Association of Chicago. He was aged 54 at the time of his death. [8] The song "Kanne Kalaimane" from the film 'Moondram Pirai', released a few months later, was his last song.


The Government of Tamil Nadu built a memorial hall as "Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam" at Karaikudi. [9] The road adjoining Natesan Park in T. Nagar, Chennai was previously called as Hensman Road is where Kannadasan resided from 1958 and it was renamed "Kannadasan street" in his honour after his demise. It was in this house where 7 Chief Ministers from M. Bhaktavatsalam to J. Jayalalithaa had visited Kannadasan. Kannadhasan once owned 14 cars which were parked on either side of the road in front of house and the last remaining one which was given by K. Kamaraj is still at display in this very house. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

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  2. Dhananjayan, G. (3 November 2014). PRIDE OF TAMIL CINEMA: 1931 TO 2013: Tamil Films that have earned National and International Recognition. Blue Ocean Publishers.
  3. Times of India, Entertainment. "National Awards Winners 1968: Complete list of winners of National Awards 1968". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  4. "Naattuikottai Chettiar chettiar". naattuikottaichettiar.blogspot.in. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  5. Nagarathaar Heritage (3 April 2017). "Kannadaasan Biography | Kaviarasu | Sirukoodalpatti". YouTube . Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  6. "Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam". TN DIPR. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  7. Krishnamachari, Suganthy. "Kannadasan's lyrics held a mirror to life". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam". TN DIPR. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  10. "தி.நகரில் கண்ணதாசன் வீடு வாங்கியது எப்படி? அங்காடித் தெருவின் கதை 14" [This is How Kannadasan Bought House - Tale of T Nagar-Episode 14]. Vikatan (in Tamil).