Remembering The Oscar-Winning Costume Designer, Bhanu Athaiya

Bhanu Athaiya was an Indian costume designer and painter. She was the first Indian to win an Academy Award.

Banu Athayya

Bhanu Athaiya was an Indian costume designer and painter. She was the first Indian to win an Academy Award. On the occasion of her birthday, let us remember her. 

Bhanu Athaiya was born on 28 April 1929, in Kolhapur in Maharashtra of British India. She studied at Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai, where she won the Usha Deshmukh Gold medal in 1951 for the artwork titled ‘Lady In Repose’.

Bhanu started her career as an artist in Mumbai while still studying at JJ School of Art. She made her debut as a film costume designer with the film C.I.D. in 1956 and followed it up with other Guru Dutt films such as Pyaasa (1957), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). In her career spanning 50 years, she has received numerous awards. She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (shared with John Mollo) for her work in the 1982 film, Gandhi and became the first Indian to win an Academy Award. She also won two National Film Awards, in 1991and 2002. 

In March 2010, Athaiya released her book The Art of Costume Design. She died on October 15, 2020, in Mumbai at the age of 91. 

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