Bhanu Athaiya India’s first Oscar winner has passed away
A brief note on Ms. Athaiya (1929-2020)
- Bhanu Athaiya won an Oscar for her work in the 1983 epic film Gandhi
- The Kolhapur-born Athaiya, who worked till just five years ago, began her career as a costume designer in Hindi cinema with Guru Dutt’s 1956 superhit “C.I.D.”.
- Athaiya came to Mumbai in 1945 and joined the Sir JJ School of Art. She became the first, and only, woman to be invited to join the Bombay Progressives, and was part of their seminal exhibition in 1953 at the Bombay Art Society’s Salon on Rampart Row.
- She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, with Ben Kingsley as the Mahatma, along with John Mollo.
- The lavish biopic of Mahatma Gandhi swept the Oscars with eight awards.
- Ms Athaiya who defined the aesthetics of Hindi cinema through her prolific work created some of Bollywood’s best-remembered looks, including Vyjayantihmala in “Aamrapaali”, Waheeda Rehman in “Guide” and Zeenat Aman in “Satyam Shivam Sundaram.”
- Ms. Athaiya also worked with noted filmmakers like Yash Chopra. And in a career of more than five decades won two National Awards — for Gulzar’s mystery drama “Lekin” (1990) and the period film “Lagaan” directed by Ashutosh Gowariker (2001).