Radhu Karmakar (Bengali: রাধু কর্মকার; 1919 - 5 October 1993) was a noted Indian cinematographer and director in Hindi cinema from the 1940s to 1990s. He worked extensively with director-actor Raj Kapoor's film and his R. K. Studio. Starting with Awaara (1951), he shot all of his subsequent films for four decades, till his last, Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).
He even directed a film, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960) which was produced by Raj Kapoor, and with Kapoor himself and Padmini as leads. The film won Filmfare Award for Best Film while Karmakar won a nomination for Best Director Award at the 9th Filmfare Awards. At the 8th National Film Awards the film also won Certificate of Merit in the Best Feature Film in Hindi category.
At the 18th National Film Awards, he won the award for National Film Award for Best Cinematography for Mera Naam Joker. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer four times, Shree 420 (1957), Mera Naam Joker (1972), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1979) and Henna (1992).
Karmakar started his film career in Kolkata with Kismat ki Dhani (1945) followed by Milan (1946) directed by Nitin Bose for Bombay Talkies. Though the film didn't perform at box office, his night sequence photography and high contrast lighting got him acclaim. Soon was chosen to shoot, Raj Kapoor's Awaara (1951). This started a career long association, which lasted four decades. Working on films like Shree 420 (1955), Sangam (1964), Mera Naam Joker (1970), Bobby (1973), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Prem Rog (1982) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). After Raj Kapoor's death in 1988, he continued working with R. K. Studio and shot Henna (1991), a project he started shooting and which was later completed by his son Randhir Kapoor.
Born in Dhaka, (Bangladesh) in a Bengali Karmakar family of goldsmiths, the profession which did not interest him much apart from his photography. Karmakar married Baani Rai, the daughter of businessman Brojendrolal Rai, and moved to Kolkata. Baani Karmakar was the youngest among her seven siblings. Radhu Karmakar and his family resided in Kolkata until in (1951) when he started working with Raj Kapoor in his film Awaara. Raj Kapoor found Karmakar's work commendable when he saw his night sequence photography and high contrast lighting in his last film Milan(1946). Karmakar's family soon moved to Mumbai.
Karmakar died in a car accident in the Mumbai Pune Expressway while driving back to Mumbai. He died on 5 October 1993.At the 42nd National Film Awards of 1995, he was posthumously given a Special Jury Award for Param Vir Chakra and "In appreciation of a lifetime achievement in creating some of the most memorable moments in Indian film history."
His autobiography, Radhu Karmakar: The Painter of Lights, was published posthumously in 2005.
- Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960)
- Kismat Ki Dhani (1945)
- Jwar Bhata (1944)
- Milan (1946)
- Naukadubi (1947)
- Mashal (1950)
- Samar (1950)
- Awaara (1951)
- Jagte Raho (1956)
- Shree 420 (1955)
- Sangam (1964)
- Aman (1967)
- Sapnon Ka Saudagar (1968)
- Mera Naam Joker (1970)
- Be-Imaan (1972)
- Bobby (1973)
- Sanyasi (1975)
- Dhoop Chhaon (1977)
- Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978)
- Love Story (1981)
- Prem Rog (1982)
- Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)
- Adventures of Tarzan (1985)
- Dance Dance (1987)
- Commando (1988)
- Henna (1991)
- Param Vir Chakra (1995)
- Radhu Karmarkar (2005). Radhu Karmakar: The Painter of Lights. Prafulla. ISBN 978-81-903588-0-4.
- Radhu Karmakar. Camera: Meri Teesari Ankh (Hindi). Rajkamal Prakashan. ISBN 9788126719624.
- "Memories through a lens". The Hindu. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- "8th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- "18th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "18th National Film Awards (PDF)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "A self-effacing genius". Daily News & Analysis. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- Gulazar; Govind Nihalani; Saibal Chatterjee (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 569–570. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5.
- "42nd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 5 March 2012.