nov 22nd, 2010
mankata ravi varma was one of the best cinematographers in india. he shot many of the best films ever made in malayalam: 'uttarayanam', g aravindan's brilliant debut film, 'olavum theeravum', a film compared to 'on the waterfront', and almost all of adoor gopalakrishnan's films, including 'swayamvaram'.
in a way, the adoor-ravi varma relationship was like the one between ingmar bergman and his brilliant cinematographer, sven nyqvist: the two pushed each other to greatness.
ravi varma was one of the two outstanding cinematographers from kerala, the other being shaji n karun, who did several of aravindan's other films, including the remarkable 'kanchana sita'. shaji's directorial debut, the staggering 'piravi', remains, for my money, the very best film ever made in malayalam, although 'uttarayanam' and 'swayamvaram' come close.