Bhanu Athaiya: Costume designer who gained India’s first Oscar dies

Bhanu Athaiya: Costume designer who gained India’s first Oscar dies

Director Richard Attenborough poses with Bhanu Athaiya

picture copyrightGetty Pictures

picture captionDirector Richard Attenborough requested Bhanu Athaiya to work on the Oscar-winning movie about Mahatma Gandhi

Celebrated Bollywood costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar winner, has died on the age of 91, her household says.

She was bedridden lately after being identified with a mind tumour in 2012, her household stated. She died peacefully within the metropolis of Mumbai.

Athaiya was famend for designing costumes for prime filmmakers in a profession that spanned almost 5 a long time.

She shared an Oscar for her work on a biopic about Mahatma Gandhi in 1983.

The invitation by British filmmaker Richard Attenborough to work on the movie concerning the Indian independence chief shot her to world prominence. She shared the award for the Greatest Costume Design with acclaimed British designer John Mollo.

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Athaiya had labored on greater than 100 films because the Fifties with famous filmmakers akin to Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra and Raj Kapoor. She additionally labored on many Bollywood classics, together with the Oscar-nominated movie Lagaan in 2001.

In tributes, Athaiya has been revered as a “nice” of cinema style whose award-winning costumes “put India on the world map”.

Athaiya is survived by her daughter, Radhika Gupta.

A life devoted to style

Born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Athaiya was one among seven youngsters. Her father was a self-taught artist and photographer who labored within the productions of Indian filmmaker Baburao Painter.

As a young person, she travelled to Mumbai, the place she began her profession as a contract style illustrator for girls’s magazines whereas studying to color at artwork faculties.

She was a gifted painter however recognised “style designing was the extra sensible possibility”.

She started designing costumes for movies within the Fifties, later telling the Indian Specific every day that she noticed her profession as “a strategy to specific myself and let my creativeness soar”.

picture copyrightGetty Pictures
picture captionAthaiya is credited with creating a few of Hindi cinema’s best-remembered seems

“It was so fulfilling that I didn’t really feel the necessity to do the rest, like opening a boutique,” she stated. “High stars began approaching me on their very own and recommending me to filmmakers.”

Her first break as a film costume designer got here in Dutt’s hit movie C.I.D. in 1956.

Her profession took off from there, giving her the chance to create a few of Bollywood’s best-remembered seems.

It was her costumes for the Gandhi biopic, nonetheless, that earned Athaiya world recognition.

An award ‘too good to be true’

Athaiya stated Lord Attenborough had supplied her the job as costume designer for the movie inside quarter-hour of her audition in 1982.

Designing costumes for Gandhi was powerful, she stated, as a result of it was tough to seize the look over a long time of his life with no entry to the web for inspiration.

“You’ll be able to nicely think about the sort of research I undertook to create the look,” she stated.

However the effort was worthwhile. In an interview with the Hindustan Instances, Athaiya stated engaged on the movie about Gandhi was the spotlight of her profession.

picture copyrightGetty Pictures
picture captionCostume maker Bhanu Athaiya was the primary Indian to obtain an Academy Award

“The work on Gandhi is closest to my coronary heart,” she stated. “We coated an enormous span of fifty years of his life. To try this, and be part of exhibiting his life to the world, was a excessive for me.”

In her acceptance speech for the Oscar in 1983, Athaiya thanked Lord Attenborough “for focusing world consideration on India”.

In 2012, she returned the Oscar to the Academy for secure maintaining.

“Folks might mishandle the trophy, so it is best to return it to the academy,” she informed the Hindustan Instances. “Many filmmakers overseas have additionally handed over their trophies as a result of their households might not have the ability to deal with it.”

Who has paid tribute to Bhanu Athaiya?

Followers, administrators, actors and fellow costume designers have been mourning the lack of Athaiya, hailed by many as an innovator of cinema model.

Talking to the Instances of India, costume designer Neeta Lulla stated Athaiya could be missed.

“An icon of our business who’s most revered and revered she has been the one to take movie costumes on the worldwide platform,” she stated. “Her costumes had been meticulous and detailed and at all times impressed me.”

Designer Niharika Bhasin, whose costumes in 2011 film The Soiled Image gained her a Nationwide Movie Award, was equally filled with reward for Athaiya.

“Very saddened by the information of Bhanu Athaiya’s demise. Our business has misplaced of 1 the greats. Such a contributor to movies from Guru Dutt to Oscar-winning ‘Gandhi’. She might be studied for her brilliance,” she stated.

Aniruddha Guha, an Indian screenwriter, tweeted that he was in awe of Athaiya’s achievements, writing: “An absolute legend. With a physique of labor few have achieved of their lifetimes. Salute.”

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