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Mankada Ravi Varma dead

Special Correspondent



Mankada Ravi Varma

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mankada Ravi Varma, one of the best photographers in Malayalam cinema, passed away in Chennai on Monday. He was 85 years old.

Ravi Varma had shot into international acclaim working with directors such as G. Aravindan, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and P.N. Menon; turning their insight into human situations to tones of black and white. The State government had honoured him with the J.C. Daniel award for life-time achievement.

Ravi Varma was under treatment for Alzheimer's disease at his sister's residence in Chennai for a few years. He was unmarried.

Born at Mankada in Malappuram district to K.K. Thampuratti and A.V. Bhattathiripad, Ravi Varma learned motion picture photography at the Institute of Film Technology in Chennai after graduation from Victoria College, Palakkad.

Varma was first noticed for his camera work in Olavum Theeravum directed by P.N. Menon. Before that, he had worked for the film Aval directed by Aziz, a former student of the Film and Television Institute of India, and some documentaries. He excelled in capturing images in black and white, especially in natural light as he did for Olavum Theeravum. However, he proved to be a master of the complexity of colour also in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Elipathayam.

Ravi Varma was associated with most of the films of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, starting with the national award winning film Swayamvaram. Ravi Varma climbed a step higher in G. Aravindan's Utharayanam where the director's narration and the photographer's frames combined to give a soul-stirring quality to the film.

Varma himself had directed a few films, of which Nookukuthi won him the State award for the best photographer and a national special jury award.

He also wrote a book Chitram Chala Chitram about cinematography which won him the State award for the best book on cinema. His last film with Adoor Gopalakrishnan was Nizhalkuthu.

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