Kannadasan(24 June 1927 – 17 October 1981) was a Tamil 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, 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.
His 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. 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. 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.
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 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.