R. Velraj is an Indian film cinematographer and director. He started his career by assisting the National Award-winning cinematographer S. Tirru for the movie Magalir Mattum (1994). Seeing his potential, Tirru promoted him to associate level and together they worked on films like Hey Ram (2000), Aalavandhan, 23rd March 1931: Shaheed (2001), Lesa Lesa, and Hungama (2003). In 2006, he worked as a cinematographer in Neeraj Vora`s comedy movie Phir Hera Pheri
. After that, he got many opportunities in the Hindi film industry, but due to the language barrier, he could not continue and returned to Chennai.
His next project was Suresh Krishna`s Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram (2007). The film opened to negative responses and was a box office disaster. The same year came Vetrimaaran`s directorial debut Polladhavan which is considered a big breakthrough in Velraj`s career. With Malabar Wedding, he made his Malayalam debut. His next was Mohanlal and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Kandahar, which was loosely based on the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight 814 in 1999. He collaborated with Vetrimaaran again for Aadukalam (2011) and for the same he won the Filmfare Award (South) for Best Cinematographer.
In 2014, Velraj made his directorial debut with Velaiyilla Pattathari which was Dhanush`s 25th movie. The movie got an overwhelming response and had set the cash registers ringing. His second outing as a director was Thanga Magan. Though the film didn`t earn as much as his debut movie but was a profitable venture for its makers. Some of his notable works as a cinematographer are Siruthai, Engeyum Eppodhum, 3, Ethir Neechal, Udhayam NH4, Komban, Vai Raja Vai, and Power Paandi. His 2018 projects include Kadaikutty Singam, Mariyappan, and Vada Chennai. His 2019 releases include Dev and Kolaigaran.