Udumalai Narayana Kavi (1899–1981) was an Indian poet. He was born on 25 September 1899 to a poor family in Poolavadi, a small village in Udumalpet taluk, Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu, India. He is remembered for writing several lyrics that were used in the freedom movement in his early days and between 1950 to 1972, he wrote popular lyrics for several Kollywood movies.
His parents died at a very young age and poverty deprived him of school when young. With the help of his brother, he made a small living selling match boxes 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 slowly made way into writing lyrics for various movies. Several of the movies that he wrote lyrics for were box office hits including Velaikari, Nallathambi, Poompuhar, Manohara. He was affectionately known as "Kaviraayar" in the movie industry. He was also associated woth N. S. Krishnan the famous comedian in 1940's.
In respect for his contribution to Tamil and its people, the government of Tamil Nadu has erected a memorial for him at Udumalaipettai. What made Narayana Kavi very popular was his ability to use simple language that could be understood even by peasants. He died in 1981.