Ravi Varma was born at Mankada in Malappuram district to K.K. Thampuratti and A.M. Parameswaran Bhattathiripad on 4 June 1926. Varma was keenly interested in photography since a child. He had his graduation from Victoria College, Palakkad and later learned motion picture photography at the Institute of Film Technology in Chennai.
Ravi Varma died on 22 November 2010 evening in Chennai. He was suffering from Alzheimer's disease for many years.