P.C. Sreeram, The Undefeated | Frames, Lights and Feelings

Nayakan PC Sreeram Mani Ratnam

Have you ever looked at Revathy’s face in Mouna Ragam and told yourself, the camera work is pure magical? Have you felt fascinated by the beauty of ‘Pachai Nirame’ song and how something as simple as a room can look so beautiful in the movie? If yes, you are a great fan of P.C. Sreeram, the name that could by itself sell a movie down south.

P.C. Sreeram, yes! One of the highest paid cinematographers and guru of Indian Cinematography. But watching Nayakan, Thevar Magan, Mouna Ragam again and again, I like to call him “The God of Indian Cinematography”. The first film to use Dolby Stereo Surround SR technology in India was directed by him. Kuruthipunal was India’s official entry for 68th academy awards in 1995. Starring Kamal Hasan, Arjun, Nasser, Gauthami, it was one among the most inspired cop movies of the decade.
Full credit for the movie Remo goes to P.C. Sreeram, for bringing out the vibrancy of the hero and the innocence of the heroine so beautifully. Every angle in the movie displays is signature artistry.

Born in Madras, Tamil Nadu, he was always drawn to the ever changing Tamil cinema.

Mani Ratnam’s Alaipayuthey and OK Kanmani belong to same genre. It was really a treat to watch these two movies from PC lens. Glossy look throughout OK Kanmani was fabulous on screen. PC collaboration with Mani Ratnam has gifted unforgettable shots to Tamil industry. The trio Maniratnam, Kamal and PC Sreeram is a blessing for Tamil industry that sets and irreplaceable standard. Trio along with Ilayaraja’s music is what makes Nayagan so magical. Without the distinctive cameras in a distinctive way only PC could have, the movie Geethanjali would have been incomplete.

BehindWoods included ‘Appu’ character of Apoorva Sahodarangal in their top ten avatars of Kamal Haasan. The magic of the character lies in Sreeram’s camera. How the character was given life by the camera is still a secret. It is not even known to his wife! Sreeram’s most notable movies as cinematographer includes Paa, Pad Man, I, Cheenikum. He has also directed several TV commercials and along the way has picked several prestigious awards including National Film Award for Best Cinematography, Vijay Award for Best Cinematographer, and CineMAA Award for Life Time Contribution.


Nayakan is one of the greatest films ever made, and is the movie that brought PC Sreeram to the attention of the cinematic world outside the Southern film industry. Velu’s first meeting with Neela (Saranya Ponvannan), who becomes his wife, was beautifully filmed as the two meet in a brothel. What we get is a wonderfully designed frame. Initially Velu stands in the light while the mirror shows a shadowy figure through the curtains of the bed in the darkness of the room beyond. It’s very effective and throughout the film there is a similar use of light and shades with many shots framed by pillars, doorways or other architectural features. Gritty realistic and beautiful shots make this a film well worth hunting down.

Shankar’s “I”, released in 2015, is a visual joy to watch on big screen I would like to quote his words here, “it is only through still photography that I saw the world. All this interest in life, this urge to have knowledge of things, all came only through my lens”. Exactly this urge makes him be part of Indian cinema as a cinematographer. It is indeed this urge that he speaks about- the urge to capture life and portray it as beautifully as he saw it – that has cemented his legacy as one of the most iconic cinematographers and a titan in the history of Indian cinematography.

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About the Author

Megha Sreeram

LLB student. Copy Writer and Content Writer. When she isn't glued to mobile or laptop screen, she spends time working in garden. Trying very hard not to be the worst badminton player in the college.

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