MUMBAI: Legendary cinematographer V K Murthy has been chosen for the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2008. The award is conferred annually by the Government of India for outstanding contributions to films, based on the recommendations of a Committee of eminent persons. This is the first time ever that a cinematographer has been selected for this award. It is pertinent to note that Dada Saheb Phalke himself was a cinematographer who had photographed his pioneering feature film Raja Harishchandra.
Murthy is credited to have provided some of Indian cinema’s most breathtaking visual moments embedded in the collective memory of the nation. He broke new grounds, ushered in modern and highly sophisticated techniques and brought in rich visual artistry into Indian cinema. Murthy shot India’s first cinemascope movie Kagaz Ke Phool and is best remembered as the cinematographer for all of Guru Dutt’s films. Murthy is also one of the pioneers of colour cinematography. His picturization of the title song of Chaudavin ka Chand mesmerised the audience. Murthy in fact started his career in cinema as a violinist. Classics like Kagaz Ke Phool and Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam won him Filmfare Awards.
Murthy’s other well known works include Baazi, Jaal, Chaudavin ka Chand, Pyasa, 12 o’Clock, Ziddi etc. He also partnered for Pakeezah and Razia Sultan. His working life spans four long decades, from his early collaboration with Guru Dutt from the 50s to his work in Shyam Benegal"s mega-serial Bharat Ek Khoj and one of the most acclaimed Kannada movies titled Hoova Hannu in 1993. Having spent nearly five decades in Mumbai, the ace cinematographer is now based in Bengaluru.
Murthy will be the 56th recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. The award for a particular year is given along with the National Film Awards. President of India would be shortly conferring the award on Murthy. The Award carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a Swarna Kamal and a shawl.