His beam shot in “Pyaasa” is considered a classic

Doyen of cinematography V.K. Murthy, who carved a niche for himself by presenting striking images in black and white to the celluloid world, passed away at his residence here on Monday.

He was 91. Mr. Murthy’s demise marks the end of a glorious chapter in Indian celluloid history. He was the constant companion of legendary director-actor Guru Dutt and gave the world many amazing cinematographical wonders.

Mr. Murthy was the first cinematographer to be chosen for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award and received the International Indian Film Academy in 2005 for his contribution to Indian cinema. His “beam shot” in the Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam sequence from Kagaz Ke Phool (directed by Guru Dutt) is considered a classic, which he achieved using a pair of ordinary mirrors.

This won him the Filmfare Best Cinematographer award in 1959. Connoisseurs remember his work in films such as Kagaz Ke Phool, Pyaasa, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam.

Mr. Murthy also worked with stalwarts like Kamal Amrohi on his masterpieces Pakeezah and Razia Sultan. He worked with directors Pramod Chakravorty, Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani.

He worked as principal cinematographer for Bharat Ek Khoj, Mr. Benegal’s tele-serial produced for Doordarshan and held camera for Mr. Nihalani’s landmark tele-serial Tamas. Born on November 26, 1923, Mr. Murthy did his diploma in Cinematography from the city’s Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic in the first batch (1943-46).

He loved music and nurtured dreams of becoming an actor before opting for cinematography.

“However, he acted in a small role in Huvu Hannu,” said its director S.V. Rajendra Singh Babu.

He was cremated in the evening.

Corrections and Clarifications

The report had said that the song - Waqt ne kiya kya hasin sitam - was from Pyaasa. Actually it was from the film, Kaagaz Ke Phool.