He was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. His father UV Babu, has directed more than half-a-dozen films in Telugu and Manoj has said that "he was the one who wanted me to become a cinematographer". He would accompany his father to shoots and said that he was "fascinated by cinematography, the mystery of the camera and lights". Educated at the M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute of Tamil Nadu at Chennai, he received his early training from the cinematographer S. Saravanan. Manoj started his career by assisting in films such as Pammal K. Sambandam, Arasatchi, Priyamana Thozhi, Madhurey, Thirupaachi and Thirupathi, as well as other films in Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil, before becoming independent. He assisted him for seven years.
Manoj's debut film was Eeram directed by Arivazhagan, and produced by noted director S. Shankar under his banner S Pictures. He received wide critical praise for his work in the film. Sify wrote, "it is Manoj Paramahamsa’s camera which is the real hero of the film. As a cameraman he is able to give the entire film the hazy blue look using Cyan color by the removal of red from white light for the first time in Tamil cinema, creating the eerie atmosphere and stillness against the continuous beating of the rains". Similarly, Rediff wrote, "Manoj Paramahamsa's camerawork is refreshing: somber and serious, with rain always threatening in some form in the present; normal and sunny in the Trichy flashback sequences".
In 2010, he worked on Gautham Menon's romance film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa and its Telugu remake Ye Maaya Chesave, winning the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer - South for the latter. He also handled cinematography for Menon's psychological thriller, Nadunisi Naaygal starring Sameera Reddy. He worked in the remake of 3 Idiots in Tamil, Nanban, which was directed by S. Shankar.
|2008||Lungiman Takes a Ride||Tamil||Short film|
|2009||Eeram||Tamil||Winner, Vijay Award for Best Cinematographer|
Winner, South Scope Cine Award for Best Cinematography
|2010||Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa||Tamil||Winner, Lux Sandal Cinema Award For Best Cinematographer|
|Ye Maaya Chesave||Telugu||Winner, Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer - South|
|Semmozhiyaana Thamizh Mozhiyaam||Tamil||Tamil Anthem |
Original Sound Track by A.R.Rahman
Directed by Gautham Menon
Written by M. Karunanidhi
|Chutti Chathan||Tamil||Additional photography|
|Nisabhdha Nilai||Tamil||Short film|
|2014||Poovarasam Peepee||Tamil||Also Producer|
|2019||Enai Noki Paayum Thota||Tamil|
|2019||Auto Shankar||Tamil||Web series producer, released on ZEE5|
|2021||Radhe Shyam||Telugu / Hindi|
- "My entry into films was scheduled: Manoj". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013.
- "Manoj Paramahamsa - Master of Shades!". Behindwoods.com.
- "Sify Movies - Review listing". Archived from the original on 24 March 2013.
- "Review: Eeram is brilliant".
- "Gautham's title tales!". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.