Kannadasan was a Tamil poet and lyricist who has written songs for many Tamil films. He is often called as Kaviarasu. He had written more than 5000 lyrics and 6000 poems and 232 books. His works include novels, epics, plays, essays, etc. His most popular works are Arthamulla Indhumatham, and Yesu Kaviyam. He was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Cheraman Kadali in 1980. He received National Film Award for Best Lyrics for the film Kuzhanthaikkaaga.
He was born on 24th June 1927 in Karaikkudi. His parents are Caathappan and Visalakshi. His birth name was Muthiah. He had eight siblings. He studied at Elementary School at Cirukudal patta and joined High School at Amaravathi Pudhur. He started his career in Ajax Company in Thiruvattiyur and joined as the Editor of Magazine Thirumakal in the year 1944. He wrote his first film song in the year 1944-45. He joined DMK party as a member in the year 1949. He had two wives, Ponnazhagi and Parvathi. He had 9 sons and 5 daughters.
His first literary work was Maankani which he wrote when he was in prison. He wrote story and dialogue for the film Illara Jyothi in 1952. He contested for DMK in the General Election of 1957 in Thirukozhtiyur constituency and lost. He left DMK later and started Thendral daily. He travelled to many countries like Russia, Malaysia and USA. He had received Best Song Composer award from State and Central Government, Annamalai Memorial Award in 1979 and State Poet Award in 1978. He was made the poet Laureate of the Tamil Nadu Government. Kannadasan was so popular that though there were many excellent poets like Vaali, Pulamaipithan, Alangudi Somu, Avinasimani, Panchu Arunachalam and Jayakanthan during that period, their hits are 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 the pioneers of the Indian freedom struggle "Marudhu Pandaiars". The song "Santhupottu" from that film remains popular. wrongly considered by many Kannadasan fans as songs written by him.
He went to Chicago on 24th June 1981 for health reasons and died on 17th October 1981. His body was brought to Madras and cremated on 22nd October 1981. Some of his legendary works are Ponal pogattum poda… Indha boomiyil nilayay vaazhndhavar yaarada, Veedu varai uravu Veethi varai manaivi, Aasaiye alai pole Naamellaam adhan mele, etc. His poetical words, Naan Nirandharamaanavan Azhivathillai, Entha Naalilum Enakku Maranamillai say that he remains immortal.