Kannadasan (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]

(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 awardsNational 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

Personal lifeEdit

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 viewsEdit

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 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
  • Artham ulla indhu matham


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


  • Enathu Suyasaritham.
  • Enathu Vasantha Kaalangal.
  • Vanavasam.
  • Manavasam.
  • Naan Partha Arasiyal.[6]

Selected filmographyEdit


  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 producerEdit

Year Film Actor Writer Producer Notes
1952 Parasakthi Yes No No
1954 Illara Jothi No Yes 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 Yes
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan Yes Yes Yes
1960 Mannadhi Mannan No Yes No
1960 Sangilithevan 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 as blackmailer
1968 Lakshmi Kalyanam No Yes No
1972 Thiruneelakandar No Yes No
1973 Suryagandhi Yes No No as singer in song "Paramasivan Kazhuthilirundhu"
1975 Apoorva Raagangal Yes No No as himself
1979 Velum Mayilum Thunai Yes No No
1979 Sigappukkal Mookkuthi No Yes No
1981 Thillu Mullu No Yes 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 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and a sequel, titled Manavasam a book about his life after he had left DMK.

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. 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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Remembering Kannadasan on his 35th death anniversary: A look at 10 evergreen songs the legend gave us". India Today. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  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).

External linksEdit