Murthy first cinematographer to win Phalke award

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V. K. Murthy
V. K. Murthy

Muralidhara Khajane

MYSORE: Mysore-born V.K. Murthy has become the first cinematographer to be chosen for the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.

Murthy is best rememberedfor his lighting techniquesin Pyaasa, Kaagaz KePhool and Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam,as he crafted some of thefinest images in Indiancinema.

His "beam shot" in theWaqt ne kiya Kya Hassen Sitamsequence from Pyassa isconsidered a classic in celluloidhistory. Inspired by alight boy who was reflectinglight with a mirror, he got thatparallel beam using a pair ofordinary mirrors. This wonhim the Filmfare Best CinematographerAward for 1959.

Born in 1923, Mr. Murthydid his Diploma in Cinematographyin Sri JayachamarajendraPolytechnic,Bangalore, in the first batch(1943-46). He worked in all ofGuru Dutt's films. He was thecinematographer for thecountry's first cinemascopemovie, Kaagaz Ke Phool.

In an interview with thiscorrespondent during his lastvisit to Mysore, Murthy said:"I met Guru Dutt for the firsttime while working for theFamous Studios as an assistantcameraman. It all beganwhen I suggested a difficultshot, which Guru Dutt saidhis cameraman would not beable to execute. I requestedhim to ask his cameraman toallow me to attempt the shot.Guru Dutt allowed me tomake two or three attempts.But I managed the shot in thefirst take. After pack-up, heasked me to work for the film.I told him that it was not rightto desert a cinematographerin the midst of a film and Iwould work with him on hisnext film."

Murthy worked for HoovuHannu, a classic in Kannadacinema, directed by RajendraSingh Babu. He created someof the most significant shotsin the black and white era.While training in London towork on colour films, heworked with the crew of TheGuns of Navarone.

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