Bhanu Athaiya

Renowned costume designer and India’s first Oscar winner, Bhanu Athaiya passed away at her residence in Mumbai on Thursday after prolonged illness. She was 91.

Athaiya, who won an Oscar for her work in the 1983 epic film Gandhi , passed away peacefully in her sleep, her daughter Radhika Gupta said.

“She passed away early this morning. Eight years ago, she was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain. For the last three years, she was bedridden because one side (of her body) was paralysed,” Radhika said.

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.”. She went on to work in over 100 films.

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.

Industry folks took to social media to mourn Bhanu Athiya’s demise who had brought the film industry and Indian cinema international recognition.

Aamir Khan took to Twitter to remember Athiya’s contribution 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.”

Athiya had worked with Amir Khan in Lagaan for which she won a national award.

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