Udumalai Narayana Kavi

Last updated

Udumalai Narayana Kavi
Udumalai Narayana Kavi 2008 stamp of India.jpg
Kavi on a 2008 Indian stamp

(1899-09-25)25 September 1899
Died23 May 1981(1981-05-23) (aged 81)

Udumalai Narayana Kavi (25 September 1899 – 23 May 1981) was an Indian poet and lyricist known for his work in Tamil films.


Early life

Udumalai Narayana was born on 25 September 1899 in Poolavadi, a small village in Udumalaipettai taluk, Tiruppur district, Tamil Nadu, India. His parents died at a very young age and poverty deprived him of school. With the help of his brother, he made a small living selling matchboxes to the nearby villages. Even when young he had a keen interest in play and music. He initially started off acting in plays at the local temple and then got connected with some leading play groups in Tamil Nadu. Today's Kollywood is an amalgamation of several of those play groups.


He is best known for writing several lyrics that were used in the freedom movement in his early days and between 1950 and 1972. He wrote lyrics for several Tamil movies. [1] Many movies that Narayana Kavi wrote lyrics for in 1940s and 1950s were box office hits; thee include Velaikari, Nallathambi, Poompuhar, Parasakthiand Manohara. He was affectionately known as "Paguththarivu Kaviraayar" or simply "Kaviraayar" in the movie industry. He was also associated with N. S. Krishnan the famous comedian in the 1940s. For the Manohara (1954)movie, he was paid 15,000 rupees per song, then considered as the highest amount paid for a lyricist. Kavi wrote lyrics mostly for actor P.U. Chinnappa , while Papanasam sivam contributed lyrics for actor M.K.Thiyagaraja bhagavathar. A. Maruthakasi, a junior lyricist for Tamil movies had considered Kavi, as his mentor.


  1. Kannagi (1942)
  2. Tamizhariyum Perumal (1942)
  3. Kubera Kuchela (1943)
  4. Vidyapathi (1946)
  5. Vikatayogi (1946)
  6. Paithiyakkaran (1947)
  7. Rajakumari (1947)
  8. Krishna Bakthi (1949)
  9. Nallathambi (1949)
  10. Pavalakodi (1949)
  11. Velaikkaari (1949)
  12. Parijatham (1950)
  13. Vijayakumari (1950)
  14. Manamagal (1951)
  15. Marmayogi (1951)
  16. Vanasundari (1951)
  17. Panam (1952)
  18. Parasakthi (1952)
  19. Devadas (1953)
  20. Marumagal (1953)
  21. Ponni (1953)
  22. Manohara (1954)
  23. Penn (1954)
  24. Ratha Kanneer (1954)
  25. Sorgavasal (1954)
  26. Thookku Thookki (1954)
  27. Chella Pillai (1955)
  28. Doctor Savithri (1955)
  29. Kaveri (1955)
  30. Mangaiyar Thilakam (1955)
  31. Mudhal Thethi (1955)
  32. Needhipathi (1955)
  33. Aasai (1956)
  34. Amara Deepam (1956)
  35. Madurai Veeran (1956)
  36. Mathar Kula Manickam (1956)
  37. Rangoon Radha (1956)
  38. Engal Veettu Mahalakshmi (1957)
  39. Karpukkarasi (1957)
  40. Bommai Kalyanam (1958)
  41. Mangalya Bhagyam (1958)
  42. Abalai Anjugam (1959)
  43. Amudhavalli (1959)
  44. Mamiyar Mechina Marumagal (1959)
  45. Manjal Mahimai (1959)
  46. Nalla Theerpu (1959)
  47. Pudhumai Penn (1959)
  48. Thaai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali (1959)
  49. Thanga Padhumai (1959)
  50. Chavukkadi Chandrakantha (1960)
  51. Deivapiravi (1960)
  52. Pattaliyin Vetri (1960)
  53. Raja Desingu (1960)
  54. Arasilangkumari (1961)
  55. Chittoor Rani Padmini (1963)
  56. Poompuhar (1964)
  57. Chitthi (1966)
  58. Vivasayee (1967)
  59. Aathi Parasakthi (1971)
  60. Kurathi Magan (1972)
  61. Dasavatharam (1976)


In respect for his contribution to Tamil and its people, the government of Tamil Nadu has erected a memorial for him at Udumalaipettai. [2] What made Narayana Kavi very popular was his ability to use simple language that could be understood even by general public. He died in 1981.

Related Research Articles

<i>Parasakthi</i> (film) 1952 film by Krishnan–Panju

Parasakthi is a 1952 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by Krishnan–Panju and written by M. Karunanidhi. The film stars Sivaji Ganesan, S. V. Sahasranamam, S. S. Rajendran, Sriranjani Jr., and Pandari Bai. It is the cinematic acting debut of Ganesan and Rajendran. Based on Pavalar Balasundaram's play of the same name, Parasakthi narrates the misfortunes that befall the members of a Tamil family during World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ragini (actress)</span> Indian actress

Ragini was an Indian actress and dancer. She was the youngest of the Travancore Sisters; Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini. She started her acting career in the mid-1950s along with her sister Padmini and has acted in movies of different Indian languages, including Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. She also starred opposite Shammi Kapoor in film Mujrim (1958). She played the role of Parvati opposite Trilok Kapoor who played Shiva in the 1962 film Shiv Parvati. The era of dance in Hindi cinema is considered to have begun with the entrance of Ragini and other South Indian actresses. Ragini died of breast cancer in 1976. She had acted in many dramas also.

<i>Ratha Kanneer</i> 1954 film by Krishnan–Panju

Ratha Kanneer is a 1954 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by Krishnan–Panju, and written by Tiruvarur K. Thangaraj. Based on Thangaraj's play of the same name, the film stars M. R. Radha, Sriranjani and S. S. Rajendran, with Chandrababu, M. N. Rajam and S. R. Janaki in supporting roles. It revolves around a returned-from-abroad, westernised rich man who shows arrogance and contempt towards anything part of Indian culture and anyone below his social standards.

<i>Paithiyakkaran</i> 1947 Indian film

Payithiyakaran is a 1947 Tamil-language film produced by and starring N. S. Krishnan. It was based on the play of the same name staged by Krishnan's drama troupe. It was the first film for Krishnan after his acquittal in the Lakshmikanthan murder case. M. G. Ramachandran played a supporting role in the film.

<i>Velaikari</i> 1949 film by A. S. A. Sami

Velaikari is a 1949 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by A. S. A. Sami and produced by M. Somasundaram under Jupiter Pictures. It was based on the play of the same name written by C. N. Annadurai, while incorporating plot details from the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo (1844). The film stars K. R. Ramasamy, V. N. Janaki and M. V. Rajamma. It was released on 25 February 1949 and became a success. The film was remade in Telugu as Santhosham (1955), in Hindi as Naya Aadmi (1956), and in Kannada as Malli Maduve (1963).

<i>Nallathambi</i> (1949 film) 1949 Indian film

Nallathambi is a 1949 Indian Tamil-language film starring and produced by N. S. Krishnan. The film's script was written by C. N. Annadurai. This film marked Annadurai's debut in Tamil films. The movie is an adaptation of 1936 American movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

<i>Penn</i> (film) 1954 Indian film

Penn (transl. Girl) is a 1954 Indian Tamil-language romantic comedy film written by Ra. Venkatachalam and directed by M. V. Raman. It stars Vyjayanthimala, Gemini Ganesan, S. Balachander and Anjali Devi while V. Nagayya, V. K. Ramasamy, K. N. Kamlam, K. R. Chellam and K. Sankarapani as the ensemble cast, was produce by A. V. Chettiar of AVM Productions. The score is composed by R. Sudharsanam with the lyrics by Papanasam Sivan and Udumalai Narayana Kavi, Ku. Sa. Krishnamurthy, K. P. Kamakshi and V. Seetharaman. Editing was done by K. Shankar and M. V. Raman while the camera was handled by T. Muthu Sami.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lalitha (actress)</span> Indian actress and dancer

Lalitha was an Indian actress and dancer. She was the eldest of the "Travancore Sisters"—Lalitha, Padmini, and Ragini. She started her acting career in the 1948 Tamil film Adhithan Kanavu and has acted in movies of different Indian languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. She entered films before her sisters, concentrating more on Malayalam films, and was mostly cast in vamp roles.

<i>Kannagi</i> (1942 film) 1942 Indian film

Kannagi is a 1942 Indian Tamil-language epic film directed by R.S Mani based on one of The Five Great Epics of Tamil Literature, Cilappatikaram. This is the first Tamil film based on the epic. The second film, Poompuhar, was released later in 1964.

<i>Poompuhar</i> (film) 1964 Indian film

Poompuhar is a 1964 Indian Tamil-language epic film directed by P. Neelakantan and written by M. Karunanidhi. It is the second film based on the epic Cilappatikaram after Kannagi (1942). The film stars S. S. Rajendran, C. R. Vijayakumari, Rajasree and K. B. Sundarambal. It was released on 18 September 1964.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pattukkottai Kalyanasundaram</span> Indian Tamil poet and lyricist

Pattukkottai Kalyanasundaram also known as Pattukottaiyar was an Indian Tamil poet and lyricist. He is particularly well known for the lyrics he wrote for M. G. Ramachandran’s movies.

<i>Manohara</i> (film) 1954 film by L. V. Prasad

Manohara is a 1954 Indian Tamil-language historical fantasy film directed by L. V. Prasad and written by M. Karunanidhi. Starring Sivaji Ganesan, T. R. Rajakumari, P. Kannamba and Girija, the film was based on the play of the same name by Pammal Sambandha Mudaliar. It was released on 3 March 1954. The film was simultaneously shot in Telugu and Hindi under the same title. Those versions were released on 3 June 1954.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Krishnan–Panju</span>

R. Krishnan (1909–1997) and S. Panju (1915–1984), collectively referred to as Krishnan–Panju, were Indian film directors. The duo directed more than 50 films in South Indian languages and in Hindi.

<i>Mudhal Thethi</i> 1955 Indian film

Mudhal Thethi in Tamil, Modala Thedi in Kannada is an Indian bilingual film, directed by P. Neelakantan and produced by B. R. Panthulu. This was the first film produced by Panthulu under Padmini Pictures banner. The Tamil version starred Sivaji Ganesan, Anjali Devi, N. S. Krishnan and T. A. Madhuram in lead roles. The film had musical score by T. G. Lingappa scoring for his first feature film. The film was a remake of Hindi film Paheli Tarikh (1954).

<i>Sorgavasal</i> 1954 Indian film

Sorgavasal is a 1954 Indian Tamil-language film, directed by A. Kasilingam and produced by M. Somasundaram and M. K. Kaliapa. The film stars K. R. Ramasamy, Padmini, S. S. Rajendran and Anjali Devi. It was released on 28 May 1954. The film was subject to political controversies and faced trouble with the censor board, resulting in many scenes being cut.

<i>Parijatham</i> (1950 film) 1950 Indian film

Parijatham is a Tamil language film released in 1950, starring T. R. Mahalingam, M. V. Rajamma and B. S. Saroja.

<i>Mamiyar Mechina Marumagal</i> 1959 Indian film

Mamiyar Mechina Marumagal is an Indian Tamil-language film produced by AVM Productions with S. S. Rajendran, M. N. Rajam and G. Varalakshmi starring. The film was released on 23 January 1959. It is a remake of the Marathi film Ganget Ghode Nhahale (1955). The film failed at the box office.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A. Maruthakasi</span> Indian poet

A. Maruthakasi was an Indian poet and film lyricist who wrote mainly in the Tamil language. He penned more than 4000 lyrics in more than 250 Tamil films.

<i>Abalai Anjugam</i> 1959 film

Abalai Anjugam is a 1959 Indian Tamil-language drama film produced and directed by R. M. Krishnaswamy. The film, based on the short story of the same name by Ki. Ra. Gopalan, stars T. R. Mahalingam and Sowcar Janaki. It was released on 31 October 1959.

M. K. Athmanathan was a music director and lyricist in Tamil cinema. He was honoured by the Tamil Nadu government with the Kalaimamani award in 1978. Her wife named thanlakshmi He has two daughters and one son


  1. Sundararaj Theodore Baskaran The eye of the serpent: an introduction to Tamil cinema 1996 Page 215 " Udumalai Narayana Kavi ... He entered films and wrote the dialogues and songs for Krishna Leela (1933). ... N.S.Krishnan invited him to work in his film Izhanda Kathal (1941). More of Krishnan's films followed. Narayana Kavi's atheistic and rationalistic ideas came to be expressed through songs. Through N.S. Krishnan, he got to know about C.N. Annadurai."
  2. Memorials of Eminent Personalities