India's first Oscar-winning costume designer Bhanu Athaiya passes away

Costume designer Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye, popularly known as Bhanu Athaiya, breathed her last on Thursday. She was 91.

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

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, who was born in Kolhapur, 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 (2001

Indian film critic Mayank Shekhar took to Twitter to condole the demise and tweeted: "Sad to hear Bhanu Athaiya, Oscar winning costume designer for Gandhi, no more. Also, invented ‘Mumtaz saree' (w/ readymade pleats & zipper) that became a rage after the song 'Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har zuban par' in the Shammi Kapoor starrer Brahmachari."

"India's first Oscar winner, costume designer @BhanuAthaiya has passed away at the age of 91. Having worked in over 100 films, since the 1950s, her eye for detail left a lasting imprint on the aesthetics of the Indian Film Industry.

We offer our deepest condolences to her family," wrote All India Mahila Congress.

(With PTI inputs)

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