Celebrating the birth anniversary of legendary Cinematographer V. K. Murthy

2 min readNov 26, 2023

Today, we celebrate the birth anniversary of #VKMurthy, born on November 26, 1923, a legendary figure in Indian cinema. Best known for his collaboration with Guru Dutt, Murthy was not just a cinematographer but a visionary artist. His journey from being a violinist and a freedom fighter to becoming a celebrated cinematographer is a tale of resilience and talent.

Murthy’s career in films began with ‘Maharana Prathap,’ but his big break came as an assistant cinematographer in ‘Baazi’ (1951), directed by Guru Dutt. His exceptional work caught Dutt’s eye, leading to a lifelong collaboration that included masterpieces like ‘Pyaasa,’ ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam,’ and ‘Aar Paar.’ Murthy’s work on ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959), India’s first cinemascope film, is particularly noteworthy for its innovative use of lighting and camera techniques, earning him widespread acclaim and awards.

His contribution to the Indian film industry was immense, particularly in the era of black and white films, where he created some of the most memorable images. His talent in creating visual poetry was recognized with prestigious awards, including the IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2010.

After Guru Dutt’s untimely demise, Murthy continued his artistic journey with directors like Kamal Amrohi, working on classics like ‘Pakeezah’ and ‘Razia Sultan.’ His ability to adapt and excel continued in his collaborations with filmmakers like Pramod Chakravarthy and Shyam Benegal, notably in the television series ‘Bharat Ek Khoj.’

Murthy’s innovation was not just limited to film; his training stint in London included working on the crew of ‘The Guns of Navarone.’ Back in India, he broke new ground in Hindi cinema and was instrumental in shaping the visual narrative of the time.

His journey from a passionate film enthusiast, who was initially refused admission to a film-making course, to becoming the cinematographer of India’s first cinemascope movie is a testament to his determination and skill. His legacy lives on in the frames he crafted, the stories he helped tell, and the history he created in Indian cinema. On his birthday, we honor and remember V. K. Murthy, a true pioneer in the world of cinematography.