"Bollywood celebrities mourn the demise of India's first Oscar winner & costume designer Bhanu Athaiya".

By editorenglish BalkaniOct 16, 2020, 12:24 IST
"Bollywood celebrities mourn the demise of India's first Oscar winner & costume designer Bhanu Athaiya".

Ace costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, the first Indian to win an Oscar, passed away in Mumbai on Thursday morning at the age of 91. The last rites took place at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai. Bhanu Athaiya had won an Oscar under the category of Best Costume Design for Lord Richard Attenborough's 1983 film ‘Gandhi’. Several Bollywood personalities including Aamir Khan, Resul PooKutty, Boney Kapoor, and Anubhav Sinha paid their tribute to the late costume designer on social media.

Aamir Khan with whom Athaiya worked in ‘Lagaan’ took to Twitter and 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”.

Sound designer Resul Pookutty, who won an Oscar for Best Sound Mixing in Danny Boyle's 2008 film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ tweeted,  “India’s first Oscar winner #bhanuathaiya is no more. You have been a guiding light, when nobody even heard of the Oscars you won it for us, you been an inspiration ... May your soul Rest In Peace... It’s a huge loss for me personally and  TheAcademy #RIPBhanuAthaiya”.

Producer Boney Kapoor also mourned the loss. "Bhanu Athiya was the First Indian to win an Oscar in 1983. Her achievements brought glory to Indian cinema and Pride to the entire Country. Was blessed to have her for our film #Prem. She will always be an inspiration to all costume designers n stylists. #RIPBhanuAthiya," he tweeted.

Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha shared the picture of Athaiya on his Twitter account and wrote, “Rest in Power Bhanu. It was a privilege working with you.”

Contemporary film costume designers such as Neeta Lulla and Niharika Bhasin also expressed their grief after the death of the veteran costume designer.

Bhanu Athaiya was born on 28 April 1929. She graduated in fine arts from Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai. She was a gold medallist and fellowship winner.

In a career spanning 50 years, she designed costumes for classics such as Pyaasa (1959), Chauvin Ka Chaand (1960), Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam (1969) among others. The last films for which she designed costumes were Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan (2001) and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Swades (2004).

She has also won two National Film Awards for her work in Lekin (1991) and Lagaan.

Athaiya shared her Oscar with her British counterpart John Mollo and continued to be the only Indian to hold the title for 26 years.

In December 2012, she returned her Oscar to the Academy following a health scare after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

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