Bhanu Athaiya Dies at 91: See Costume Designer’s Oscar-Winning Moment For Gandhi and the Reason She Returned Her Academy Award (Watch Video)

Bhanu Athaiya has died at the age of 91. The prolific costume designer gained global recognition when she became the first Indian to win an Oscar in 1983. Although, another interesting trivia about Bhanu’s Oscar is that she returned it.

October 15, 2020

Entertainment

2 min

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Bhanu Athaiya has died at the age of 91. The prolific costume designer gained global recognition when she became the first Indian to win an Oscar in 1983. Her costume design for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi was flawless. Today, she breathed her last in her sleep, as revealed by her daughter. May her soul rest in eternal peace. The lady has left behind a legacy that will tough to match for the most celebrated costume designer in India. Her designs were about authenticity, being real, bringing out a character, unlike many costume designers today who are all about style over substance.

To remember her fondly, we are going to look back at the winning moment when Bhanu’s name was announced at the Oscar stage Steve Guttenberg and Ann Reinking presented the award to her. For her acceptance speech, she simply said, “It’s too good to believe. Thank you Academy and thank you, Sir Richard Attenborough, for focusing the world’s attention on India,” 

Watch Bhanu Athaioya’s Oscar-Winning Moment Here:

Although, another interesting trivia about Bhanu’s Oscar is that she returned it. There was no political reason for her to return her trophy. Well, not blatantly political at least. Bhanu was worried that her family won’t be able to take good care of the trophy after her, so it will be safer in the Academy. “They cannot take care of the award as much as I can. Nobody else can, so I might as well return it,” she said.

She also said that the government has shown no interest in taking care of the trophy or contributing to her recognition.

Bhanu has also won National Film Awards for Costume Design for her work on Lagaan and Lekin. Her last work was Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades. Her other notable works include 1942: A Love Story, Henna, Ajooba, Agneepath, Chandni, Rocky and Karz – to name a few.

 

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