He can be credited for being the mastermind behind the creation of some of Indian cinema's most memorable moments. Guru Dutt's favourite cinematographer, VK Murthy, breathed his last on Monday morning at his Shankarapuram residence in Bangalore. He was 91-years-old, and is survived by his daughter Chaya Murthy.
Venkatram Krishna Murthy, popularly known as VK Murthy, was in fact the first technician to be honoured with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2008. Murthy, who shot India's first cinemascope film, Kagaz Ke Phool, was best known for his work in all of Guru Dutt's classics, including Pyaasa and Sahib, Bibi Aur Ghulam. His innovative parallel beam shot for Wakqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam from Pyaasa, and the picturisation of Chaudavin Ka Chand's title song, are still considered to be some of the best cinematographic works Hindi cinema has witnessed till date.Since his first collaboration with Dutt in 1950 to working with Rajendra Singh Babu on one of the most acclaimed Kannada films, Hoova Hannu in 1993, Murthy had been part of the Indian film industry for over four decades.
Murthy had also worked for Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah and Razia Sultan and for the tele-serials Bharat Ek Khoj by Shyam Benegal and Tamas by Govind Nihalani.A one-time violinist and freedom fighter, Murthy was born in 1923 in Mysore and got his diploma in cinematography from SJ Polytechnic. He began his career as a stage artiste with the Mysore Association in Mumbai and went on to become Guru Dutt's regular cameraperson. Box 1: Behind the camera...Some of the films Murthy was part of are: Baazi, Jaal, Aar- Paar, Mr And Mrs 55, CID, 12'o Clock, Ziddi, Love In Tokyo, Naya Zamana, Suraj, and Nastik. Box 2: A student of cinema.
According to author and eminent musicologist Rajesh Subramanian, VK Murthy was denied admission at the Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic College in Bangalore that had started a cinema-related course. He was only offered a seat after much pleading.