India’s first Oscar-winning costume designer Bhanu Athaiya passed away today at the age of 91. She died at her home on Thursday after a prolonged illness, her daughter Radhika Gupta told PTI.
Athaiya, who won an Oscar for her work in the 1982 film Gandhi, passed away peacefully in her sleep, her daughter said. The last rites took place at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai.
“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,” her daughter said.
Athaiya was born in Kolhapur and began her career as a costume designer in Hindi cinema with Guru Dutt’s 1956 superhit C.I.D.
She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi along with John Mollo. In 2012, Athaiya returned her Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for safe-keeping.
In a career spanning five decades and over 100 films, she won two National Awards for Gulzar’s mystery drama Lekin (1990) and the period film Lagaan directed by Ashutosh Gowariker