Ashok Kumar Agarwal was an Indian cinematographer and director who worked mainly in the South Indian film industry. He was born to Kedarnath Agarwal, a Hindi poet. After obtaining a diploma in photography from the Allahabad University, Kumar went to Madras and joined the Institute of Film Technology, Adyar to do a course in motion photography. After graduating from the institute, he made his debut as a cinematographer in the 1969 Malayalam film Janmabhoomi. He financially supported the film in its pre-production work and distribution. The director J. Mahendran’s second film Uthiripookkal, he approached Kumar to be the cinematographer. This was the Kumar’s debut film in Tamil industry. He became Mahendran's regular cinematographer and worked in 9 of his 12 films. They collaborated in films including Johnny, Nenjathai Killathe, Nandu and Metti. During the 1980s, Kumar started to work more on commercial films. He cinematographed My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), India's first 3D film. His Hindi films included Kamagni, Bawandar and Kehtaa Hai Dil Baar Baar. Kumar was married and had four sons. Two of his sons, Akash Ashok Kumar and Sameer Ashok Kumar is also a cinematographer. He passed away on 22 October 2014 at the age of 73 in Chennai.