V.K. Murthy, the first cinematographer to be chosen for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Tuesday said he was surprised and happy to have been bestowed with the honour. The octogenarian thanked late filmmaker Guru Dutt for giving him the opportunity to work in films.
The veteran, who was cinematographer for all Guru Dutt films, said he had never expected to get such a prestigious award in the evening of life.
"But I am happy to receive this prestigious award, which is in recognition of my cinematic contribution. I hope this award belongs to hundreds of cinematographers who have done extraordinary work in Indian cinema," Murthy told IANS at his residence here.
"I can only thank a genius director like Guru Dutt for giving me an opportunity to work in his films and translate his conceptions on screen. I was able to involve (myself) in many innovative experiments he had tried. The best example is the making of 'Kagaz Ke Phool' (1959), which is the first cinemascope venture in the Indian film industry," said Murthy.
Murthy has been cinematographer for films Ziddi (1948), Baazi (1951), Jaal (1952), Pyasa (1957) and Chaudhvin ka Chand (1960), among others.
Born in 1923 and having spent nearly five decades in Mumbai, the ace cinematographer is now based in Bangalore.
"I cherish the relationship I had with Guru Dutt-saab with whom I worked in many memorable films like Pyaasa. I still remember that he was the first director who had promised me to make a cameraman while I was working as an assistant cameraman for his film Baazi. He kept his promise and I started my career as a full-fledged cameraman," Murthy said as scores of well-wishers and mediapersons thronged his house after the award was announced.
Murthy had also worked in Kannada film Hoovu Hannu for which he had received the best cinematographer award from the Karnataka government.