Will it be auction or museum for Bhanu Athaiya’s sari collection?
Will it be auction or museum for Bhanu Athaiya’s sari collection?
File Photo

On a day when the newly appointed Union textile minister Piyush Goyal was in Mumbai, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar urged his ministry to acquire the invaluable heritage sari and textile collection of Padmashree awardee, late Bhanu Athaiya. Comprising Paithanis, Chanderis and Benarasis in silk and cotton, 200 saris and textile fabrics from the Oscar-winning designer’s collection are set to be auctioned this month.

The treasure trove also comprises a dark blue Chandrakala, dhotis, shelas (stoles) and even a kunchi, a baby’s christening robe. Shelar said the textile ministry’s intervention can help preserve the collection for posterity. Shelar said, “This rich legacy of Maharashtra and Indian culture, once auctioned to private hands, may end up in foreign museums and will be lost to generations of Indians from public viewing.”

Shelar’s request is triggered by Mumbai-based auction house Prinseps’ move to auction Athaiya’s collection of heirloom textiles later in July. Shelar has requested for acquiring this collection and displaying it at the National Institute of Fashion Technology’s sub-portion of the textile museums coming up in Mumbai.

“This section should be named as the Bhanu Athaiya section. After all, beautiful fabric design and traditional Indian wear have been an integral part of Indian cinema,” Shelar said. Athaiya designed costumes for legendary Hindi films such as Kagaz Ke Phool, Waqt, Guide, Teesri Manzil, Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Razia Sultan, Agneepath, Karz, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Brahmachari, Ajooba Swades and Lagaan.

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