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India’s first Oscar winner Bhanu Athaiya dies

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The legendary costume designer who was India’s first Oscar winner, Bhanu Athaiya died at her home after a prolonged illness. From the 1950s and 2000s, Bhanu gave a completely different look to the Hindi cinema.

Bhanu Athaiya’s daughter Radhika Gupta informed that eight years ago she was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain. Even for the last three years, she was utterly bedridden as due to her one side paralyse. Her last rituals took place at Chandanwadi crematorium in Mumbai.

She began her career as a costume designer with Guru Dutt’s film “C.I.D” and then went on her job to work over 100 films. She won the Oscar for her excellent work in the epic Richard Attenborough’s biopic “Gandhi” which was released in 1982. She also shared her honour with her British collaborator John Mollo. But later she returned her Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for protection. She expressed in an interview that she didn’t have any regards returning her award.

India's first Oscar winner Bhanu Athaiya dies 1

She has created some of the most iconic looks like Waheeda Rehman in ‘Guide’, Vyjayantihmala in ‘Aamarpali’ and Zeenat Aman in ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’. Athaiya also created one of Mumtaz’s best-known costumes – a candy-orange, pre-pleated sari that matched an ankle-length skirt. Mumtaz wore the ensemble in the song Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche from Bhappi Sonie’s Brahmachari (1969). She has also worked with Yash Chopra, BR Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Vijay Anand, Raj Khosla, Jabbar Patel and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. She has also won two national awards for Gulzar’s “Lekin” and Ashutosh Gowariker “Lagaan”.

Aamir Khan, who worked her in Lagaan, tweeted a grievous tribute to her. “Bhanuji was one of those film people who beautifully combined accurate research and cinematic flair to bring to life the director’s vision. You will be missed Bhanuji. My heartfelt condolences to the family.”

Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty


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