Bhanu Athaiya, the first-ever Indian to win an Oscar, has passed away due to a prolonged illness at age 91.
An artist gone: Athaiya, who won an Oscar for her costume design for Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi” in 1983, died at her home in Mumbai on Thursday, Variety reports.
- For the past eight years, the renowned costume designer had reportedly been suffering from a brain tumor.
- Born in Kolhapur, India in 1929, Athaiya started her career as a fashion illustrator for local magazines.
- She made her shift to designing costumes for films via Raj Khosla’s “C.I.D.” (1956).
- Athaiya eventually went on to design for many of India’s iconic films, such as Guru Dutt’s “Pyaasa” (1957), “Kaagaz Ke Phool” (1959) and Abrar Alvi’s “Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam” (1962).
- Throughout her 60 years in show business, she has designed for over 100 Indian films.
- She has earned the reputation of India’s most in-demand costume designer when she was hired for “Gandhi.”
Making history: Athaiya, who was also nominated in the same category at the BAFTAs, shared her Oscar win with John Mollo at the 1983 Academy Awards.
- During her acceptance speech, Athaiya said the win was “too good to believe.”
- She also thanked filmmaker Attenborough for “focusing world attention on India.”
- After her win, Athaiya went on to design more costumes for other memorable films including “Chandni,” “Aashiqui” and “1942: A Love Story.”
- Athaiya also won India’s National Award for costume design for the Oscar-nominated “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India” in 2001.
- “Lagaan” actor and producer Aamir Khan remembered Athaiya’s talent via a tweet.
- “Bhanuji was one of those film people who beautifully combined accurate research and cinematic flair to bring to life the director’s vision,” he wrote.
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.
— Aamir Khan (@aamir_khan) October 15, 2020
Feature Image via Oscars