India’s first Oscar-winner Bhanu Athaiya dies at 91 in Mumbai home

India's first Oscar-winner Bhanu Athaiya dies at 91 in Mumbai home
India’s first Oscar-winner Bhanu Athaiya dies at 91 | Soochna

India’s first Oscar winner Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya passed away due to prolonged illness, in Mumbai on 15 October, at the age of 91. She had a tumor in her brain which was diagnosed eight years ago. She had been bedbound since her right side got paralysed in 2016.

Bhanu’s daughter, Radhika Gupta told the media that she was suffering from a strain of pneumonia and expired on Thursday morning in her sleep. Her funeral ceremony took place at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai. Also Read: Actor Abhishek Bachchan was asked ‘Hash hai kya’, this is how he replied

Bhanu, born in Kolhapur in 1929, came to Mumbai in 1945 and joined the Sir JJ School of Art. At the beginning of her career, she worked as a fashion illustrator for magazines later she started to design costumes for films. She commenced her career in Bollywood with Guru Dutt’s superhit film C.I.D. in 1956. Even after tumor diagnosis she had continued to work, she designed costumes for the Marathi film Nagrik in 2014. Her journey in the film industry spanned over 6 decades and over 100 films. Also Read: Ranveer Singh could be a ‘sex upchaar doctor’, says Bhumi Pednekar, here’s why

She received the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’ in 1982, along with John Mollo. In the foreword to her memoir, ‘The Art Of Costume Design’, Attenborough said, “It took me 17 years to set up his dream film ‘Gandhi’ but only 15 minutes to make up my mind that Bhanu was the right person for the costume designing.”

Apart from the Oscar, she won a BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design for the same film ‘Gandhi’. She also won the National Film Award twice, for Gulzar’s film ‘Lekin’ in 1990 and for Ashutosh Gowariker’s film ‘Lagaan’ in 2002. Also Read: Bhojpuri actor, Akshat Utkarsh wanted to make it big in Bollywood, found hanging in his apartment

In December 2012 she made news when she returned her Oscar statuette to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for safekeeping. She said, “I returned it willingly and it makes me happy that my Oscar has gone to the right place. It’s like a tradition. Many awardees have returned their Oscars in the past for safekeeping.”


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