Lens wizard Murthy gets Phalke award

Lens wizard Murthy gets Phalke award

Cinematographer V K Murthy receives accolades at his residence in Bangalore on Tuesday DH photo

This is the first time ever that a cinematographer has got the award, named after Phalke who himself had photographed his pioneering feature film “Raja Harishchandra”.
Murthy, now 87, broke new grounds in cinematography, using highly sophisticated techniques to bring in rich visual artistry into Indian cinema.

He shot  “Kagaz Ke Phool,” India’s first cinemascope film, and has been one of the pioneers of colour cinematography. 

Murthy started his career in cinema as a violinist, but won Filmfare Awards for his cinematography in “Kagaz Ke Phool” and “Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam” which were directed by Guru Dutt, India’s Orson Welles.

Murthy’s work mesmerised viewers in films like “Baazi,” “Jaal,” “Chaudhvin ka Chand,” “Pyasa,” “12 O’Clock” and “Ziddi.” He was also associated with “Pakeezah” and “Razia Sultan.”

His career spans from his early collaboration with Guru Dutt from the 1950s to working in Shyam Benegal’s mega-serial “Bharat Ek Khoj” as also “Hoovu Hannu,” one of the most acclaimed Kannada movies.

An inspiration for a whole generation of cinematographers, the 1923-born Murthy earned his diploma in cinematography from S J Polytechnic, Bangalore, in its very first batch (1943-46). As a student, he took part in the freedom struggle and was jailed in 1943 and is a recipient of freedom fighter’s pension.

After having spent nearly five decades in Mumbai, the ace cinematographer is now based in Bangalore.

A recipient of the IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award at Amsterdam in 2005, Murthy will be the 56th recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, which comprises a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a swarna kamal and a shawl. The award will be conferred on Murthy by President Pratibha Patil at the presentation ceremony of the National Film Awards for 2008.


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