R.V. Ramani (b: 1957) is an award-winning filmmaker, cinematographer and a teacher, presently based in Chennai. A graduate in Physics, from Mumbai University, his passion for photography, made him choose photojournalism as a career working in Mumbai. He later graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, specializing in Motion Picture Photography, in 1985. His first short film, Saa (1991, 16mm, 30 mts), as Director/Cinematographer, was an experiment with form and content, exploring his own rhythm, in the flux of rural and urban rhythms. Today with many independent films to his credit, he is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in India, who has established a unique style of his own, making impressionistic subjective documentaries, as innovative experiences exploring various aspects of expression. Ramani has travelled widely, his films and retrospectives have been presented in various platforms. Ramani is also an acclaimed Cinematographer, collaborating on many films with other filmmakers. He has served in the Jury at many International Film festivals and National Film Awards. He regularly gets invited to conduct filmmaking workshops, Master classes or as an Academic consultant at many Institutions in India and has been a Visiting Professor at the Ambedkar University Delhi, for 5 years, from 2015 till 2020. Presently, Ramani is working on many feature documentaries. * His latest film – ‘Oh That’s Bhanu’, has won the 68th National Film Award for Best Direction in the Non-fiction category.


“My films are based on the premise – the only issue is the need to express and to reach an expression. The inspiration for the film comes when I experience a sense of a ‘sruti’, a tuning or a feeling, a connection, for a possible film. The shot taking and its character then align to this ‘sruti’. It’s mostly to do with my own preoccupation, a sense of concern, a strong connect with the ‘subject’, to understand, to relate, to share, to seek and most importantly to discover a film and a form in the process. For me this approach gives rise to the content of the film. The impact of the filming on the ‘subject’ and the subject’s relation towards the language of cinema, my own presence in the context, I usually address within the structure of the film. I would say my process has been largely democratic primarily towards the elements of cinema. I consider it’s important that a shot has to live its full life and reveal its full potential. My process of editing has been like filtering the essence of the shooting. Most often, in the process of editing, I find the footage starts resonating and dictate a rhythm, structure and flow. This becomes the logical end of the edit. I have given great emphasis to the synch sounds in all my works. The picture and sound most often cut together. I basically work with the camera lens-generated image and avoid trying other -manipulations. Even visual effects are meant to underline rather than dazzle or to cover-up. Whenever there is a sound overlap or dissolve, I underline them, rather than disguising them. I like revealing the process and try to be transparent in my engagements. I generally avoid using voice over and narration. The accent is always on the experience. I believe, when you reach the experience of the highest order; the information contained within is the most appropriate, for the film. Though I have been working on the so called documentary format, the final experience of my films are essentially fiction.”


  • ISIFF, International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • MAMI, Mumbai Film Festival
  • Dharamshala International Film Festival
  • Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai.
  • New Silk Route Film Festival, China
  • Split Film Festival, Croatia
  • Documentary Film Festival, Kerala, India
  • India International Film Festival, Kolkata
  • Munich International Film Festival, Germany
  • Film South Asia, Katmandu, Nepal
  • DocumentART, International Film Festival, Germany.
  • Jeonju International Film Festival, South Korea
  • Videart International film Festival, Mexico
  • International Video Festival, Kerala, India
  • Les États Généraux du Film Documentaire, France
  • Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan
  • Kara International Film Festival, Pakistan
  • Festival Wayang, Indonesia
  • International Puppetry and Film Festival, China
  • Festival International Médias Nord Sud, Switzerland
  • Busan International Film Festival, Korea
  • Persistance Resistance International Film Festival, New Delhi, India
  • Hyderabad Film Festival, Hyderabad, India
  • SIGNS Film Festival, Kerala
  • Vibgyor Film Festival, Kerala
  • Gorakhpur Film Festival, India
  • Bangaluru International Film Festival, India
  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kerala, India


  • BEST DIRECTION, 68th NATIONAL FILM AWARD (2019-20), Film ‘Oh That’s Bhanu’,
  • BEST FILM – BALA KAILASAM MEMORIAL AWARD (2019), ‘Oh That’s Bhanu’, Presented by Cinema Rendezvous, for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking
  • BEST LONG DOCUMENTARY AWARD, National, Mumbai International Film Festival MIFF2018 for the film ‘Santhal family to Mill Re-call’
  • SPECIAL JURY AWARD, New Silk Route Film Festival, China
  • RETROSPECTIVE – DocumentART, International Film Festival, Germany.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai, India.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai, India.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Asia Pacific Trinalle, Australia.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Hyderabad Film Circle.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Persistance Resistance International Film Festival, New Delhi, India.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Madurai Film Festival.
  • LECTURE – Presented Alamgir Memorial lecture at the Dhaka International Film Festival.
  • MASTER CLASSES, Many platforms, Institutions
  • JURY CHAIRMAN, ISIFF, International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • JURY, IDSFFK, International Documentary Short Film Festival, Kerala
  • JURY, IIT Film Festival
  • JURY, National Film Awards
  • JURY CHAIRMAN, Kerala State Television Awards
  • FILM WORKSHOPS – GUEST FACULTY and Academic Consultant at many Film Schools and Media Courses.
  • VISITING PROFESSOR – Ambedkar University Delhi from 2015 to 2020

CINEMATOGRAPHER (Selected Short List):

  • ENIGMA OF SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN – Directed by Nandan Kudhyadi
    A Docu-fiction on the Mathematician S Ramanujan.
  • IT RESTED, Documentary, Directed by Soudhamini
    A short experimental film, searching for forgotten songs in the hills of Kolli, Pachai, Kalvarayan Hills, Tamil Nadu.
  • AN AMERICAN IN MADRAS, Documentary, Directed by Karan Bali
    On the life of Ellis R Dungan, the filmmaker, who made some of the earliest landmark Tamil feature films.
  • CHILDREN OF MINI JAPAN, Documentary, Directed by Chalam Bennurakar – Plight of the children who work in the matchbox industry, in Sivakasi and neighboring areas, Tamil Nadu.
  • AFTER THE GOLD, Documentary, Directed by Janaki Nair
    History of mine workers, Labor Unions in the KGF (Kolar Gold Fields).
  • JAHAJI MUSIC, Documentary, Directed by Surabhi Sharma
    India in the Caribbean, unusual and complex, musical journey.
  • WAVE AFTER WAVES, Documentary, Directed by Leena Manimekalai
    Exploring the healing process, through Art, of the Children affected by Tsunami.
  • ILAYUM MULLUM, Malayalam Feature Film, Directed by KP Sasi
    A social comment and critique of the harassment faced by young girls in the society.
  • MERE APPA, Short Hindi Fiction, Directed by Vishnu Mathur
    A young boy’s complex relation with his strict disciplinarian father.
  • ARAR ASAIPADAR, Documentary, Directed by Prasanna Ramaswamy
    A film with the Carnatic musician, Sanjay Subrahmanyan.
  • A SCHOOL OF MY OWN, Documentary, Directed by Gargi Sen
    Exploring School education and their life in Himachal Pradesh.
  • SPIRITUALISM, Documentary Series, Directed by Vesna Lubic
    A journey through Tamil Nadu, exploring the complex relation of people with spiritualism. -
  • NAIRASHYA, Kannada Feature, Directed by Rahat Yusufi
    The predilection of the daughter-in-law of the house, who is expected to deliver a male child, for the family.
  • BEYOND THE WHEELS, Documentary, Directed by Rajula Shah
    Exploring how women potters in Gujarat and Manipur, circumvent the taboo of not being allowed to use the wheel.
  • MATTER IS THE MATTER, Documentary, Directed by SS Kalairaani (Work in Progress)
    A film with artist and painter Velu Viswanadhan.
  • CHILDREN NARRATIVES, Documentary Series, Directed by Rianne Schindel
    A series of sketches/narratives of the children growing up in impoverished families in Chennai.
  • WINDFALL OF GRACE, Documentary, Directed by Japna Tulsi
    A biopic on the life of the Spiritual Guru, Neeb Karori Baba.
  • SCRIBBLES ON AKKA, Documentary, Directed by Madhushree Dutta
    A docu-fiction exploring the vachanas (composition) of Mahadevi Akka, a 13th century saint-poet.
  • CELLULOID MAN, Documentary, Directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
    The life of P.K. Nair, Film Archivist and Teacher, who was instrumental in setting up National Film Archives of India.
  • CHAAYYA, Documentary, Directed by M.R. Rajan
    An exploration of image making process and the lineage from cave paintings to contemporary cinema.
  • STONE IN THE RICE, Documentary (Work in progress), Directed by Indu Krishnan
    On the life of Bangalore Nagararathinam Ammal and others.
  • Bihar’s Role in the Freedom Struggle, A docu-fiction, Directed by Jagat Murari.
  • THE DARK I MUST NOT NAME, Documentary, Directed by Shaan Khatau
    Exploring the life of people in Bhopal, post the Union Carbide Gas tragedy.
  • CAMPAIGN FILM, Docu-fiction, Directed by Phani Sundar
    Election campaign films.
  • (Untitled- Work in progress), Documentary, Directed by Rohini Molleti On the artistic family of 3 brothers, talented in different fields, deeply influencing social, cultural and political milieu in Tamil Nadu.