The famed costume designer became the first Indian to win an Oscar for her work on Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982).
Oscar winner Bhanu Athaiya dies at 91 after prolonged illness
Mumbai - 15 Oct 2020 19:02 IST
Updated : 19:04 IST
Veteran costume designer Bhanu Athaiya died at the age of 91 after a prolonged illness on Thursday. Her daughter confirmed the news to the Press Trust of India (PTI).
Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, India's first Oscar winner, dies after prolonged illness, says her daughter— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) October 15, 2020
Athaiya became the first Indian to win an Oscar for her work on Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982) starring Ben Kingsley and Rohini Hattangadi. She shared the trophy with British costume designer John Mollo. In 2012, however, she returned the Oscar to the Academy for preservation after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
She also won two National Awards for her costumes for Lekin... (1991) and Lagaan (2001), which was also a Oscar-nominated film. Athaiya was presented with a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Born Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye on 28 April 1929 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Athaiya was a magazine fashion illustrator who transitioned into designing clothes. A graduate of the Sir JJ School of Art, she entered Hindi cinema with Guru Dutt's production CID (1956) and was a core member of his team with classics such as Pyaasa (1957), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962).
Apart from Gandhi, Athaiya worked on international projects such as Siddhartha (1972). Latterly, she lent her touch to films such as Chandni (1989), Henna (1991), and 1942 A Love Story (1993). Her last film was Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades (2004).