|Birth||25 April 1921|
S. Maruti Rao (born 1921) was an Indian cinematographer who worked mainly in Tamil films.
Rao was born in Thanjavur on 25 April 1921. He became interested in photography as a student. He carried his camera to school regularly. Impressed by his interest in photography, his neighbour, N. C. Pillai, the-then editor of Flash magazine, asked whether he would be interested in joining cinema. With permission from his parents, Rao enlisted as an apprentice in Pragajothi Films in 1940 for the Telugu film Choodamani. The film's main cinematographer was Mama Shinde.
Rao's next film was Kalamegam, directed by Ellis R. Dungan. He worked as assistant under Marcus Bartley. He later moved to Vel Pictures in Guindy and worked on the film Bhakthi Mala. The cinematographer was so impressed with Rao's work that he took him on as first assistant and gave him the responsibility of handling the Mitchell camera.
After World War I, he joined Pragathi Studio and was the still photographer for Sri Valli, produced by A. V. Meiyappan. When Meiyappan moved to Karaikudi, Rao got the opportunity to work as still photographer and first photographer for the film Mahathma Kabir directed by R. N. Nagendra Rao. When the film's German photographer left, he finished the film.
When Meiyappan returned from Karaikudi, Rao worked as second photographer and as manager of the still department. During the production of Or Iravu, Rao worked for the first time as the main cinematographer. Directed by P. Neelakandan, the film’s cinematography won wide acclaim. He went on to work in as many as 60 films: 34 Tamil films, 13 Hindi films, eight in Kannada and five in Telugu. He was the make-up test photographer for actors like Sivaji Ganesan, S. V. Subbiah, Vyjayanthimala and Hema Malini before they could enter cinema.
Besides cinematography, Rao produced several television serials and documentaries. He also served as an honorary member of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, and the Selection Committee Chairman for the Film and Television Institute of India.
- Or Iravu (1951)
- Parasakthi (1952)
- Andha Naal (1954)
- Server Sundaram (1964)
- Anbe Vaa (1966)