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Manoj Kumar Khatoi -Odisha’s lensman behind the scenes of Bollywood and Hollywood

22/10/2021 at 7:09 PM

Bhubaneswar, Oct 22: Manoj Kumar Khatoi, an Odia cinematographer from Bhubaneswar, known as Bollywood’s leading cinematographer has been the man behind many successful movies in the recent past.

His keen observation skills and love for nature and animals have helped him capture some of the best moments on camera, which could otherwise go unnoticed by regular people.

His passion for creative work led him to try his hand at photography which eventually landed him as a front-running cinematographer of Bollywood. He travelled from his native place Tarakor, Konark, to Mumbai for a successful career in cinematography.

He was moderate in studies throughout his school career. But his keen observational skills and his love of nature and animals landed him in the cinematography he is today. He likes to observe nature and surroundings and put them through his canvas of lenses. It was then his love for nature transformed into his passion for cinema. Having limited exposure to theatre, he sees nature as his primary source of inspiration.

He has always had an interest in photography right from his childhood days. He used to take photographs of every object around him without even knowing what it would be eventually.

After his degree in cinematography from the Film and Television Institute of Odisha, Cuttack, Manoj Kumar Khatoi moved to Mumbai with an aspiration to become a Bollywood cinematographer. He worked for almost four years before getting a chance with no contacts or know-how of entering showbiz. But once he did get it—he was not going back.

He has since then worked on several Bollywood films, including Talash, Fukrey, Don, Aja Nachle, Miss Lovely as an associate cinematographer, in”Raees” as a second unit cinematographer and Notebook” as director of photography. He has also worked in the upcoming post-production series of Netflix Series “Finding Anamika” starring Madhuri Dixit produced by Karan Johar. Currently, He is engaged in his upcoming movie, “Oonchayi” which is produced by Sooraj R. Barjatya starring Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Parineeti Chopra, Boman Irani, Neena Gupta, Sarika, Danny Denzongpa.

Besides shooting movies, Manoj has also made documentaries for international channels like the BBC and has shot more than thousands of television commercials for Pan Indian and internationally. Manoj always brings a new wave of cinematography to Indian cinema with his innovative approach, an ardent nature lover himself.

‘When I look at nature, all I want to do is record it. The beauty of nature makes me feel like a writer or an artist. It helps me create visual art in my mind’, said Manoj.

Although just a few years old and still learning, Manoj has hit Bollywood as director of photography is Raees and is raking in accolades from critics and audiences alike. With three films under his belt in less than a few years of filming, Manoj has become one of the most sought-after cinematographers in India. But he doesn’t plan to stop here; as soon as he’s done shooting one film, he’s already scouting for another.

This cinematographer said that there are no boundaries for him: His work reaches artistic excellence when it comes to subtly and weaving a story organically.

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