Living life's moments through his pictures

Dada Saheb Phalke awardee Kutty indulges audience with memories of Kagaz Ke Phool

Living life's moments through his pictures

  Dada Saheb Phalke Awardee V K Murthy interacting at the Sarada Vilas College in Mysore on Sunday. DH photoThe 64th Independence Day saw students, teachers and lecturers interacting with India’s only Dada Saheb Phalke awardee cinematographer V K Murthy.

On Sunday morning, ‘Mysorean’ Murthy, also the alumnus of the institution, set the tri-colour flag fluttering as a mark of independence day celebrations. Subsequently, he took a long journey down the memory lane, recollecting his days when Indian cinema saw some creatively significant departures, in terms of technical expertise, subject of the cinema, approach and workmanship.

‘Kutty’ that he was to friends then, Murthy was completely taken over by the fascinating world of cinema. The lad who had studied in Lakshmipuram Primary School, Banamaiah’s Middle School and Sarada Vilas High School, went on to etch some unforgettable images in Indian cinema, and also be awarded with the highest honour for his work.

During the course of conversation, devoid of pretentions and speech was not laced with ‘political correctness’, Murthy said he actually wanted to become a film star during the early years of his life.

“But, eventually, I understood my limitations and decided to become a cinematographer instead,” he said.  After having the first taste of the ‘big bad world’ of cinema and everything around it, through Mumbai Movie Tone College -a dubious cinematography institute which cost him good money, Murthy said he returned to Mysore disappointed after three months.

He eventually joined Jayachamarajendra Vocational Training Institute in Bangalore to learn cinematography. But the knowledge didn’t take him too far.

He landed in Mumbai, the then Bombay, with burning desire to work in cinema and no contacts to help him at the outset. His first assignment came from a music director Mohan Saigal, who was introduced to Murthy — the violinist. Later, Murthy etched his path and went to work with Fali Mistry, a big name in Hindi cinematography those days. 

His association with actor-director Gurudutt was something that changed the course of both their lives forever. “I owe my work to Gurudutt, who hired me for my style of working and allowed me to experiment than push me for quick shots,” he recollected.
Kagaz ke phool, the film which had his legendary shot of a light beam, went on to become a classic. “On the opening day of the film, I was told some people threw chappals at the screen. I cried on that day. But, Gurudutt, being what he was, didn’t feel sorry for it. Instead, he said that was part of life,” Murthy said.

Heaping praises on Amitabh Bacchan among few actors who come with a great sense of professionalism, Murthy said most actresses he worked with, were also highly professional. At the end, the 88-year-old doyen of Indian cinematography, said today the space is less for technicians since the subjects chosen have limited demand for creative aspects.

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