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Kannadasan
Profile picture of Kannadasan.jpg
Born Muthiah
(1927-06-24)24 June 1927
Sirukoodalpatti, Madras Presidency, British India
(present-day Tamil Nadu, India)
Died 17 October 1981(1981-10-17) (aged 54)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Pen name KaraimuthuPulavar
Vanangamudi
Kanakappriyan
Parvathinathan
Arokiyasamy
Occupation Poet, novelist, lyricist, politician, film producer, literary editor
Nationality Indian
Subject Poetry and literature
Notable works Arthamulla Indhu Madham
Yesu Kaaviyam
Notable awards National Film Award for Best Lyrics
1968 Kuzhanthaikkaga
Sahitya Academy Award
1980 Cheraman Kadali
Spouses Ponnazhagi (Ponnammal)
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
Parvathi (Parvathi)
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
Valliammai(Valliammai)
(m. 1957–1981; his death); 1 daughter
Children 15 Children

Kannadasan (; 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, Kannadasan was most familiar for his song lyrics in Tamil films and contributed around 5000 film lyrics apart from 6000 poems and 232 books, 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.

Personal life

Kannadasan was born to Sathappan Chettiar and Visalakshi Aachi in the year 1927, in Sirukudalpatti, near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India and was given the birth name Muthiah. He was the eighth child to his parents and had ten 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. 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. .'

Songwriting

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. He is considered to be the greatest modern Tamil poet after Subramanya Bharathi.

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

Spiritual books

  • 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 novels

  • 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

Poetry

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

Autobiography

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

Source:

Selected filmography

Lyrics

  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. Naanum Oru Penn
  35. Pazhani
  36. Varumayin Niram Sivappu
  37. Billa
  38. Thee
  39. Deiva Magan
  40. Kalathur Kannamma
  41. Paarthaal Pasi Theerum
  42. Paadha Kaanikkai
  43. Annai Velankanni

As actor, writer and producer

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
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
1981 Deiva Thirumanangal Yes No No

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. 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.

Death

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. The song "Kanne Kalaimane" from the film 'Moondram Pirai', released a few months later, was his last song.

Legacy

The Government of Tamil Nadu erected a memorial hall as "Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam" at Karaikudi. 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.

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