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When Tamil Lyricist And Poet Kannadasan Rejected Kalaimamani Award – DellyRanks


Kannadasan wrote around 5,000 songs in his career.


After Kannadasan was selected for the Kalaimamani Award, he reached out to Cho Ramaswamy seeking his advice on whether he should accept the honour or not.

Tamil lyricist, poet and novelist Kannadasan is credited with bringing prominence to songwriting. The poet’s prolific work, done in a career spanning over four decades, etched his place in the history of Tamil Nadu. Kannadasan, throughout his career, won many accolades including the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel Cheraman Kadhali. If this wasn’t enough the renowned lyricist was also named to be presented with the Kalaimamani Award, the highest civilian award in the state of Tamil Nadu. However, at the suggestion of Cho Ramaswamy, Kannadasan rejected the award.

During 1977-78, Kannadasan was selected for the Kalaimamani Award. Soon after the announcement, he reached out to Cho Ramaswamy, a Tamil actor, satirist, and politician seeking his advice on whether he should accept the honour or not. Cho told him, “It has been 15 years since these awards are being given, they should have given it to you within the first 2 years but they did not. These awards are given as per the quota system.”

Cho added, “If you receive this, you won’t lose anything and it is the awards that will earn more respect. So, don’t accept it.” Following his advice, Kannadasan refused to accept the Kalaimamani award.

Kannadasan’s career witnessed the poet penning lyrics for around 5,000 songs, composing 6,000 poems, and even writing 232 books. Besides the Sahitya Akademi Award, he also won the National Film Award for Best Lyrics in 1969. He was honoured for his work in the film Kuzhanthaikkaga. Unfortunately, Kannadasan passed away on October 17, 1981, in Chicago, United States, at the age of 54.

On the other hand, Cho Ramaswamy acted in over 200 films, scripted 14 and directed another four. Besides his film career, he wrote more than 20 plays and 10 books. Not only this, he also displayed his writing skills in nearly 27 TV serials which also featured him as an actor.

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