Twice the winner of National Film Award in the category of Best Cinematography, Ashok Mehta is a notable Indian film cinematographer. His famous works include movies like
Bandit Queen, Utsav,
Ram Lakhan, etc. He has worked with prolific mainstream Bollywood directors such as
Aparna Sen, Mukul Anand,
Subhash Ghai and
Shyam Benegal. Most of his films have been critically acclaimed for one aspect or the other.
At the age of 14, Ashok ran away from home to find his place in this big wide world. He came to Mumbai, the city of dreams, to find his own dream. With no money, no place to go and no acquaintances in this big city, he survived alone by taking up jobs as an egg vendor or fruit seller. He entered the film industry as a canteen boy. Young, ambitious and determined Ashok then went on to become an office boy in the industry. He made his way to becoming a camera attendant during which time he learned the operations of a camera and how to make use of it to make the scene perfect. After almost ten years of struggle and living on the edge, he finally got his break at being a director of photography. At the age of 25, he received his first breakthrough as a cinematographer for Raj Marbros' The Witness. The then reigning star of Bollywood,
Shashi Kapoor, was greatly impressed with his work and thus offered him his next production - 36 Chowringhee Lane. His work soon caught the eye of the leading filmmakers of the industry.
However, it was only after actress Rakhee suggested his name for Subhash Ghai's mega-project Ram Lakhan, which he was brought on board. His cinematography showed the Indian cinema a new and intriguing style of shooting and lighting. Ashok Mehta was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012. During his treatment for cancer, he was also diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery for the tumor and intensive treatment for cancer, but lost the battle for life on 15th August, 2012. Despite his illness, he never stopped working. In fact, Ashok Mehta wanted to shoot a series of 13 documentaries about cinematographers. He won several awards such as the Silver Lotus Award, Bengal's Film Journalists' Award and awards for Best Cinematography.