It is a name quite familiar to the Malayalam film industry. He has cinematographed for over 125 films and is a Kerala State Award winning Cinematographer. Ramachandra Babu was born in a small town called Maduranthakam in the district of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. He was born on December 15, 1947. After his completion of BSc Chemistry from Loyola College, Madras, he moved on to join the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (FTII) to study cinematography. In addition to what he achieved educationally he also got to have a lot of friends from the Institute which helped him further in his future life as well as career. People like
Balu Mahendra and K.G George who has made an impact in Indian Cinema through acting and directing were friends with Ramchandra in college.
His debut film was in the year 1971 as a cinematographer for the movie – Vidyarthikale Ithile Ithile which was even before he graduated from FTII. Writer Azad and Director John Abraham also entered the industry with this as their debut. There are two main works that made him noted and familiar in the industry - Nirmalyam (1973) and Swapanadanam (1976) which were both debuts from M.T. Vasudevan Nair and K.G. George, respectively who are directors as we look at them now. He graduated with his Diploma in Cinema (Motion Picture Photography) in the year 1971. All these films he had done till then were in black and white. Other than movies, he has also worked with the cinematography of several documentaries and advertisements as well. Even though most of what he has worked for is the Malayalam Film Industry, he has also functioned for films in Hindi, Arabic, Tamil, Telugu and English. His first color film was Dweep (1976), directed by
Ramu Kariat. His introduction to the world of awards was through this film, and it won him his first Best Cinematographer Award from Kerala State Film Awards.
He won 3 more state awards all for cinematography in movies Rathinirvedham (1978) which was even remade recently, Chamaram (1980) and Vadakkan Veeragadha (1989) directed by Hariharan. Oru Vadakkan Veeragaadha was Voted the Third Greatest Indian Film of all time. He worked with all kinds of equipments and did all types of experiments.
aHe went through the transition of shooting from black and white to color. He was the cinematographer for the first CinemaScope film which was shot in South India but unfortunately got misrepresented. Another one of his films; Padayottam (1982) was photographed in CinemaScope format and was later converted to - 70mm blow-up prints along with added magnetic stereo sound (6 track).