Still photographer ‘National’ Chelliah died in Chennai
Notable still photographer National Chelliah (80) passed away yesterday in Chennai. He was one of the renowned names in cinema still photography. He had worked with Shivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Jayasankar, Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, K Balachander, SP Muthuraman and others in the film industry.
His first movie as a still photographer was Missiamma directed by LV Prasad in 1955. He had worked on more than 600 movies including Sindhu Bhairavi, Pankkaran, Velaikkaran, pudhu arthangal to name a few. Chellaiah had a close relationship with superstar Rajnikanth. He was the still photographer for most of the Rajni films. His low angle click for Rajni’s Baasha, which was his last film with the super star had received special acclamation.
Chelliah who was born to Periya Karuppan and Chellaai in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu started working for a photo studio in native town at the age of 17. Later he moved to AVM Studio in Chennai where, he got interested in cinema still photography and started working as an assistant to photographer Nataraj. Actor MGR recognised his talent and offered him a chance to work for him. Later he became the chief photographer of MGR.
Chelliah had also served as the president of the still photographers association for the period between 1980 and 1990.