Acclaimed cinematographer MJ Radhakrishnan passed away on Friday, following a heart attack, at a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. He was 61 years old.
He has done cinematography in over 75 films, mostly in Malayalam, and also won the Kerala state award for best cinematographer seven times.
Radhakrishnan has won state awards for his works in Deshadanam (1996), Karunam (1999), Adayalangal (2007), Bioscope (2008), Veetilekkulla Vazhi (2010), Akashathinte Niram (2011) and Kaadu Pookunna Neram (2016). Radhakrishnan has also won awards at international fests – for his work in Bioscope at the South Asian International Film Festival and Papilio Buddha at the Oaxaca Film Fest (2013) among others. His work in Marana Simhasanam won him the Golden Camera Award in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Festival of 1999.
He has also done cinematography for the Hindi film Ek Alag Mausam, directed by KP Sasi in 2003.
Radhakrishnan who hails from Punalur in Kollam began his career as a still photographer and moved to Thiruvananthapuram to work with director Shaji N Karun. He was introduced to the renowned cinematographer and filmmaker by still photographer and actor, late Balakrishnan. He worked as an associate under Shaji N Karun for a while before turning independent with the film Maamalakalkkapurathu, directed by Ali Akbar in 1988.
Radhakrishnan’s work was soon noticed for its natural lighting. He also appeared to prefer working in art house movies with directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, TV Chandran, Shaji N Karun, Murali Nair, Dr Biju, Jayaraj and Ranjith.
The last films that Radhakrishnan worked for are Shaji N Karun’s Olu and Dr Biju’s Veyil Marangal that’s just won an award at the Shanghai International Film Festival. He leaves behind his wife Sreelatha, son Yadu and daughter Neeraja. Yadu too is a cinematographer.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has paid his condolences. He said that Radhakrishnan was an artist who played an important role in raising standards of cinematography.