Malayalam film fraternity, Kerala Government and cultural circles have condoled the death of eminent cinematographer Mankada Ravi Varma, who had worked for many outstanding directors including Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

Ravi Varma, 85, died at his sister’s home at Chennai on Monday, where he had been staying for the last few years due to indifferent health. He was a bachelor.

Winner of national award twice, Mr. Ravi Varma’s name had been synonymous with “serious cinema” as the film movement was known in the 1970s with the advent of directors like P N Menon, Adoor and G Aravindan.

He shot to fame with “Olavum Theeravum,” a black-and-white classic directed by Mr. Menon based on the story and script by Jnanpith laureate M T Vasudevan Nair.

The director and writer had often acknowledged that Mr. Varma’s sharp visual sensibility and ability to capture the minutest nuances of nature and realities was a vital factor for the resounding success of “Olavum Theeravum” as an all-time classic in Malayalam.

A cinematographer keen only to associate with good cinema, he later accepted the invitation from Adoor to wield camera for his first film “Swayamvaram” and later his “Elipathayam”, in colour.

Born at Mankada in Malappuram, Mr. Varma was a keenly interested in photography since a child. After graduation, he went to leran motion picture photography in Madras Institute of Film Technology.

Besides doing camera for leading directors, Mr. Varma himself directed a few films, of which “Nokkukuthi” received a special mention from the national film jury.

In a condolence message, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said contributions of Mr. Varma to Indian cinema would be remembered for ever.

Various Malayalam film forums including the Film Chamber and technicians’ association MACTA expressed grief at the death of Mr. Varma.