Ace costume designer and the first Indian to win Oscar, Bhanu Athaiya died at the age of 91. The veteran took her last breath at her residence in Mumbai on 15th October.
Bhanu Athaiya’s daughter told PTI, “She passed away early this morning. Eight years ago, she was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain. For the last three years, she was bedridden because one side (of her body) was paralysed”.
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Bhanu Athaiya won Oscar for Best Costume Design in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 film, Gandhi. Born in 28th April 1929, Bhanu Athaiya went onto become one of India’s greatest costume designer. She started her career as a fashion illustrator for various women’s magazines, but later switched into designing clothes in a boutique.
Bhanu Athaiya made her debut as Costume Designer in Guru Dutt’s film CID (1956) and since then she never looked back. In a career spanning over 5 decades she worked in various films like Pyaasa, Saheb Biwi Or Gulam, Guide, Mera Naam Joker, Karz, Chandni, Lagaan and Swades and many more.
This is an impeccable loss for World Cinema. Bhanu Athaiya represented India in global platform. In her speech at the Academy awards she said, “It’s too good to believe, thankyou Sir Attenborough for focusing world attention on India”. Bhanu Athaiya stood for showing the greatness in simple costumes.
The Costume Designer returned her trophy on 15 December, 2012 to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as she believed her family wouldn’t able to take care of her prestigious award after her demise.