Kannadasan About this soundpronunciation  (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(Poet Laureate), Kannadasan was most familiar for his song lyrics in Tamil films and contributed around 5000 film lyrics apart from 6000 poems and 232 books,[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]

'Kaviarasu' Kannadasan
Profile picture of Kannadasan.jpg
(1927-06-24)24 June 1927
Sirukoodalpatti, Karaikudi Taluk, Madura district, Madras Presidency, British Indian Empire (modern-day Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died17 October 1981(1981-10-17) (aged 54)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Pen nameKaraimuthuPulavar
OccupationPoet, novelist, lyricist, politician, film producer, literary editor
Nationality Indian
Citizenship India (1927-1981; his death)
Education8th grade dropout
(passed Tamil Pulavar course)
Notable worksArthamulla Indhu Madham
Yesu Kaaviyam
Notable awardsNational Film Award for Best Lyrics
1968 Kuzhanthaikkaga

Sahitya Academy Award
1980 Cheraman Kadali
SpousesPonnazhagi (Ponnammal)
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
Parvathi (Parvathi)
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
Gandhi Kannadasan
Annadurai Kannadasan
Dr.Kamala Kannadasan
Srinivasan Kannadasan
Gopi Kannadasan
Dr.Ramasamy Kannadasan
Smt.Kalaiselvi Gopalsamy
Smt.Visali Manoharan
Venkadachalam Kannadasan
KanmaniSubbu Kannadasan
Kalaivanan Kannadasan
Smt.Revathi Shanmugam
  • Sathappan (father)
  • Visalakshi (mother)

Personal lifeEdit

Kannadasan was born to Sathappan and Visalakshi in the year 1927, in Sirukudalpatti, near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India and was given the birth – name Muthiah. He was the 8th child to his parents and had 10 siblings. 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. After dropping out of school, 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.

His friendship with MSV was legendary and the combination of these two geniuses created some of the most important songs of Tamil Cinema.

==Religious views -Muthiah 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 Thiruppavai of Andal, and was amazed at its mystic poetry, which was to have a deep and lasting impact on him. After a lot of introspection, he decided to go back to Sanatana Dharma. He renamed himself as Kannadasan, meaning the servant of Lord Sri Krishna (In Tamil Kannan means Krishna and in Sanskrit, dasa means servant), as he had become a Vaishnava Hindu. He Also built a Temple for Lord Krishna which is located on Thankichalam Chetty road in T.Nagar, just a couple of hundred meters from his home. He dug deep into understanding Sanatana Dharma, and wrote his series of books on Sanatana Dharma titled Arthamulla Indhu Matham. He was born in the village of Sirukoodalpatti, which is near Karaikudi.[3][4]


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 few songs written by other contemporary poets were considered to be written by Kannadhasan } Though, after his death, film lyrics have come a long way, 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 the pioneers of the Indian freedom struggle "Marudhu Pandaiars". The song "Santhupottu" from that film remains popular.

Spiritual booksEdit

  • Arthamulla Indhu Matham
  • Yesu Kaviyam
  • 'Bagavath geethai
  • Ponmazhai
  • Bajagovindam
  • Sri Krishna Kavasam
  • Sri venkatesa Suprabatham- Andal Thirupaavai
  • Ambigai Alagu Dharisanam
  • Krishna Anthathi
  • Sankara Pokisham

Notable novelsEdit

  • Cheraman kathali
  • Aval oru hindhu pen
  • Sivappukal mukkuththi
  • Ratha pushpangal
  • Avalukakga oru padal
  • Swarna saraswathi
  • Nadantha kathai
  • Misa
  • Suruthi seratha rakangal
  • Mupadhu naalum pournami
  • Arangamum antharangamum
  • Kadal konda thennadu
  • Ayiram thivu angkayarkanni
  • Kamini kanchana
  • Kutti kathaigal
  • Oru kavinani kathai
  • Velangkudi thiruvila
  • Ayiramkal mandapam
  • Birundhavanam
  • Aachi
  • Vilaku matuma sivapu
  • Aathanathu aathimanthi
  • Anarkalai
  • Athaivida ragasiyam
  • Paarimalai kodi
  • Oru Nathiyin kathai
  • Sembagathaman kathai
  • Manampola vaalvu
  • Sivakangai seemai
  • Santhithen sinthithen
  • Oomaiyin Kottai
  • Sarasuvin soundarya lagari


  • Mutruperatha Kaviyangal
  • Sri krishna anthathi
  • Ambigai alagu dharisanam
  • Maangani
  • Paadi kudutha mangalam
  • Thaipaavai
  • Kannadhasan Kavithaigal Parts 1-7


  • Enathu Suyasaritham
  • Enathu Vasantha Kaalangal
  • Vanavasam
  • Manavasam
  • Naan Partha Arasiyal

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. Singari (1951)
  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 Thalaikakkum
  12. Anandha Jodhi
  13. Neethikkupin passam
  14. Kudumbathalaivan
  15. Kaanchi Thalaivan
  16. Parisu
  17. Vettaikaran
  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. Naanum Oru Penn
  35. Pazhani
  36. Varumayin Niram Sivappu
  37. Billa (1980)
  38. Thee
  39. Deiva Magan

As actor, writer & producerEdit

Year Film Actor Writer Producer Notes
1952 Parasakthi Yes No No
1954 Sugam Enge No Yes No
1956 Madurai Veeran No Yes No
1956 Tenali Raman No Yes No
1957 Mahadhevi No Yes No
1958 Maalaiyitta Mangai No Yes Yes
1958 Nadodi Mannan No Yes No
1959 Sivagangai Seemai No Yes No
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan Yes Yes Yes
1960 Mannadhi Mannan No Yes No
1960 Sangili Devan No Yes No
1961 Thirudathe No Yes No
1962 Vanambadi No No Yes
1962 Sumaithaangi No No Yes
1963 Ratha Thilagam Yes Yes No
1964 Karuppu Panam Yes Yes No
1972 Thiruneelakandar No Yes No
1973 Suryagandhi Yes No No
1975 Apoorva Raagangal Yes No No
1979 Velum Mayilum Thunai Yes No No
1981 Deiva Thirumanangal Yes No No

Poet laureateEdit

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 DMK and a sequel, titled Manavasam a book about his life after he had left DMK

His contribution to Tamil literatureEdit

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. He wrote a number of spiritual works in the later part of his life including Yesu Kaviyam the story of Jesus told in the poetic form. Many of Kannadasan's poems have been translated into French.[6] 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 Seethai'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.

He wrote a book about the life of Jesus Christ "Yesu Kaaviyam" rendered in a pristine poetical Tamil. It was published at Tiruchirapalli in the year 1981. The function was presided over by the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu Mr. M.G. Ramachandran. Yesu Kaaviyam was the last literary work of Kannadasan.


Kannadasan died on 17 October 1981 in Chicago, United States, where he had gone from India to attend a Tamil conference organised by the Tamil Association of Chicago. He was aged just 54 at the time of his death.[7] The song "Kanne Kalaimane" from the film 'Moondram Pirai', released a few months later, was his last song.


The Government of Tamil Nadu erected a memorial hall as "Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam" at Karaikudi.[5] 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 Sri Mr. Bakthavachalam to Sri Ms.Jayalalitha 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 Sri Kamarajar is still at display in this very house.


  1. ^ "About Us". Kannadasanpathippagam.com. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  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. ^ "nattukottai chettiar". Nattukottaichettiar.blogspot.in. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  4. ^ Nagarathar Heritage (3 April 2017). "Kannadasan Biography | Kaviarasu | Sirukoodalpatti". YouTube. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b "KAVIARASAR KANNADASAN MANIMANDAPAM". Tndipr.gov.in. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  6. ^ Krishnamachari, Suganthy. "Kannadasan's lyrics held a mirror to life". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit