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History 101: In Memory, Great Poet Kaviarasu Kannadasan – 1927 – 1981

Kannadasan Poet Tamil

Probably one of the greatest Tamil movie lyricists, the poet Kaviarasu Kannadasan (Kaviarasu meaning King of Poets and Kannadasan meaning Servant of Lord Krishna) is no stranger to the masses when you listen to the old songs from MGR & Sivaji acted movies. It is said that he wrote lyrics for more than 5,000 songs and also wrote poems and books. Image source: Chennai Online 

I did not realise it until saw the post up at What The Sui where there is a post in remembrance of the great poet.

I always loved Kannadasan’s writings and lyrics since they make a lot of sense, are very inspiring and are definitely ahead of their time.

Picking from an article from the net some time ago (sorry I lost the link), this incident shows how the great poet has always been inspired to write some part of his life and experiences into the lyrics of the songs.

When director A. Bhimsing, music directors MS Viswanathan (MSV) & Ramamurthi and lyricist, poet Kannadasan sat down to work on a song for the film ‘Paava Manippu’ there was an urgent telephone call for the poet.

Kannadasan excused himself and answered the phone. MSV then noticed that the poet’s facial expression had changed Kaviarasar’s face considerably. Just before the phone call, the poet was very happy and joyful but now that expression is no longer shown on him. After placing the receiver back on its handle, the depressed-looking, poet returned to the spot where all were gathered to compose the song for a particular situation.

Curious, MSV quickly asked Kannadasan if everything is alright considering that the poet was no longer smiling and looked very concerned. The poet not wanting to disrupt the work at hand told MSV that there was nothing wrong and got down to work on the song. After listening to the situation of the story from the director, Kannadasan immediately wrote the song and collected his dues and left in a hurry.

MSV who was not content with his friend’s explanation decided to probe the situation further. In the evening on the same day, MSV dropped by Kannadasan’s house and asked him the same question. This time Kaviarasar told him the whole truth. It seems that his creditors took judgement debt notice and were already in the house to seal the same. That was when he received the phone call from his household.

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MSV was shocked and then realised that the song that the poet had written earlier that day was actually reflecting the situation that the poet was in at that time but also fit the situation in the movie.

The song that the great poet had written the lyrics for is titled “Silar Sirippaar Silar Azhuvaar” which translates to “Some will laugh, Some will cry”. Paying closely to the working of the lyrics, one would find these words – “kaalam oru naal maarum nam kavalaigal yaauvum theerum, vanthathai enni azhugindren varuvathai enni sirikkindren” which translates to “time one day will change, all my worries will go away, I am crying of the problems that had fallen on me now but I am laughing of the solution that I will have soon”.

The poet was sad that such an embarrassing situation took place (“vanthathai enni azhugindren”) but happy that he would resolve this matter after getting the cash for the song (“varuvathai enni sirikkindren”). Once he had the cash in his hands, he rushed home to pay the notice servers to postpone their action.

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In another song titled “Vandha Naal Mudhal” from the same Paava Manippu movie, the poet now speaks on how mankind had changed since the start of the time when man existed on the planet even though nature by large have not changed.

From the day we (mankind) had existed to today, the sky has not changed.

Even the moon in the sky, fishes in the ocean, the ocean itself, the wind, the flowers, the soil, the plants, the forest, the river – none of these have changed but mankind has changed.

Whenever the man’s social status changes, he changes his characters too.

He will speak about morality and justice in the wrong sense. He preaches about the caste and segregating others as it is demanded by the Gods (and is written in Holy scriptures). Mankind has indeed changed especially when he gets high on religion.

When he saw birds in the sky, he gets inspired and built the aeroplane. When he saw the fishes in the ocean, he gets inspired and built the boat. When he heard echoes, he gets inspired and built the radio. But what inspired him to invent money.

Having a sense of pleasure and love is the way of nature. whatever nature created in this whole world, the sinned human by the false caste practice has separated it all.

The movie Paava Manippu is just one of the many evergreen movies starred by the late Sivaji Ganesan and had some of the best songs from MSV. A movie about a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim – all fused in one interesting story with a twist in the end.

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Frankly speaking, it is rare to see the great poet be in the movies where he had written lyrics and it is the same for MSV. In the above song from the movie, Surya Gandhi, a 1973 movie, you can get to see the great poet singing MSV composed and lyrics written by him.

The poet starts off with the lyrics of the snake around Lord Shiva’s neck asking the garuda of which Lord Shiva is riding on if the garuda is well. The garuda replies that if everyone stays at each other place, all will be well since the garuda will by nature kill the snake if it gets close. Who can think of such a brilliant example to explain that things will be well if people do their part and be where they suppose to be.

We will always remember the great poet…

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8 thoughts on “History 101: In Memory, Great Poet Kaviarasu Kannadasan – 1927 – 1981”

  1. helo. read your entry on racism. it’s a moving story, thought i should comment on that. your entries sure have substance as well. keep it up. i just found another permanent link in my blog. =)

  2. Kavi Arasu Kannadasan
    Kannadasan was a great poet of Tamil language and chose to write lyrics for songs in Tamil films. He lived between 1927 and 1981, Initially he was a great Atheist and later he himself got changed to a great devotee of Krishna. All his song lyrics had a haunting effect on the listeners.Even when he was an atheist his songs were thoughtful and vaguely philosophical . Later when he became a great devotee of God , his poems …
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    Philosophical song lyrics of the Tamil king of poets-Kannadasan

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