The dateline: March 20, 2001. Venue: Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The octogenarian VK Murthy in a blue-grey suit slowly stepped towards the dais to receive the ultimate honour for his genius on celluloid – the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award – from the then President Pratibha Patil. The packed auditorium gave him a standing ovation. This thundering applause was a proud moment for the entire cinematographer fraternity of the Indian film industry. Murthy was the first cinematographer to be bestowed the highest award for his distinguished contribution in this arena.