Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar winner, passed away at the age of 91 on October 15 after a prolonged illness, said her daughter Radhika Gupta. According to The Hindu, her daughter said that Banu Athaiya passed away peacefully in her sleep. As wishes are pouring in for the veteran, let us take a look at some more details about Banu Athaiya.
Banu Athaiya was a costume designer. She began her designing career in the film industry with Guru Dutt's 'CID'. Banu Athaiya won Oscar for Richard Attenborough's Gandhi in the Best Costume Design category. In 1983, the designer won the award, alongside John Mollo.
During her speech at the Academy Award in 1983, Bhanu thanked Richard Attenborough. She said that the maker focused the world's attention on India. Bhanu Athaiya said, "It's too good to believe. Thank you Academy and thank you, Richard Attenborough, for focusing world attention on India". Later in 2012, Athaiya returned her Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for safekeeping.
In an old interview with PTI, Bhanu revealed that she didn't regret giving the award back. She said, "I have wanted this for some time. I want to thank the Academy for helping me". She further added, "Many Oscar winners in the past have returned their Oscars for safekeeping. It is a tradition with the Academy".
Apart from Oscars, Bhanu Athaiya also bagged National Awards. She is a two-time National Award-winning designer. She won these two prestigious awards for designing costumes for films like Lagaan, starring Aamir Khan and Gulzar's film Lekin. Bhanu Athaiya has worked with several top-notched filmmakers. Namely, Raj Kapoor, Kamal Amrohi, Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra, BR Chopra, Vijay Anand, Raj Khosla, Gulzar, Ketan Mehta, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, and Ashutosh Gowariker.
Born in Kolhapur as Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye, Bhanu also played a major role in the 70's fashion trends. She was credited for designing Mumtaz's popular pre-pleated style saree. The outfit was attached with a zip on the side and a long floor-sweeping pallu.
Bhanu Athaiya's final rites took place at the Chandanwadi crematorium in south Mumbai. According to The Hindu, the designer was diagnosed with a brain tumour, eight years ago. Since 2017, Bhanu has been bedridden because one side of her body was paralysed, her daughter said to the same media house.
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