NEW DELHI: India’s first ever Oscar winner, costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, has died at the age of 91. Athaiya, who dressed the casts of over 100 Bollywood movies and gained international acclaim for her work on the 1982 movie “Gandhi,” died in Mumbai, according to her daughter Radhika Gupta.
She was diagnosed with a brain tumor eight years ago. Gupta remembered her mother’s “childlike” curiosity and said, “She never felt like she knew it all.” During her healthier years she was “unstoppable,” she said.
Sunil Seth, chairman of the Fashion Design Council India said she has been a “torchbearer of design.”
“We, as a design fraternity, salute her excellence not just in cinema, but also in proving to the world, the huge role fashion plays to shape a personality, both on and off the screen,” he wrote.
Born in 1929 in Kolhapur, in Maharashtra state, Athaiya began designing movie costumes in the 1950s, working on a series of productions with Guru Dutt, one of the era’s most celebrated directors. She went on to collaborate with filmmakers including Raj Kapoor and Raj Khosla.