Bhanu Athaiya has been an important name in pioneering Indian cinema. She was the first Indian to receive the very prestigious Oscars award. Being an impeccable costume designer, she had received the Oscar for Best Costume Design award at the 55th Annual Academy Awards in 1983.
She passed away this morning after battling a brain tumour for eight long years. She was 91. Bhanu had shared her Oscar with British costume designer John Mollo for their work in Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi.
Apart from her Hollywood outings, she also designed costumed for Bollywood movies like C.I.D, Pyaasa, Kagaz Ke Phool, Waqt, Arzoo, Amrapali, Suraj, Anita, Milan, Raat Aur Din, Shikar, Guide, Teesri Manzil, Mera Saaya, Inteqam, Abhinetri, Johny Mera Naam, Geeta Mera Naam, Abdullah, Karz, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Razia Sultan, Nikaah, Agneepath (1990), Ajooba and 1942 – A Love Story among others.
As far as her work in West is concerned, she designed costumes for Conrad Rook’s daring Siddhartha and Krishna Shah’s Indo-American film Shalimar. She also has been a part of the German short film The Cloud Door.
Bhanu Athaiya’s daughter Radhika Gupta in her conversation with PTI informed, “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.”
It’s being reported that the family performed the last rites at Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai.
Here’s the video of Bhanu Athaiya making the entire country proud:
In one of her old interviews with The Indian Express, she had said, “For me, it (working for cinema) became a way to express myself and let my imagination soar. It was so fulfilling that I did not feel the need to do anything else, like opening a boutique. Top stars started approaching me on their own and recommending me to filmmakers. Nargis loved my designs.”
The world of cinema has lost yet another brilliant artist. May Bhanu Athaiya’s soul rest in peace!