A prolific poet and lyric writer, Udumalai Narayan Kavi was born on 25 September 1899 in Tamil Nadu. He had mastered many Tamil folk art forms, including Therukoothu, Naiyandi Paadal, Puravi Nattiyam and Thappatai.
His parents died at a very young age and poverty deprived him of school. With the help of his brother, he made small living selling matchboxes to the nearby villages. Even when young he had a keen interest in play and music. He initially started off acting in plays at the local temple and then got connected with some leading play groups in Tamil Nadu. Today's Kollywood is an amalgamation of several of those play groups.
He is best known for writing several lyrics that were used in the freedom movement in his early days and between 1950 and 1972. He wrote lyrics for several Tamil movies. He won was many awards including Periyar Pesun Thondar and Kalaimamani.
To honor him India Postal Department has issued a commemorative postage stamp of value 500 Paise in 2008.
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