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Bhanu Athaiya, India's first Oscar winner, dies age 91

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

(Original Caption) Hollywood, California: Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya stands backstage, holding her Oscar, after winning the 1982 Academy Award for "Best Costume Designer" for her role in Gandhi.

Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, who worked on over 100 Bollywood movies and gained international acclaim for 1982's "Gandhi," has died at the age of 91.

India's first ever Oscar winner, costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, has died at the age of 91.

Athaiya, dressed the casts of over 100 Bollywood movies and gained international acclaim for her work on the 1982 movie "Gandhi. "

"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.

While she primarily worked on Bollywood movies, she produced costumes for director Conrad Rooks' 1972 film "Siddartha," an adaptation of the famed Hermann Hesse novel.

At the 55th Academy Awards, Athaiya claimed the award for Best Costume Design (alongside her co-designer John Mollo), one of eight Oscars won by the movie that night.

Athaiya continued to work in the later decades of her life, receiving industry recognition for her rich visual take on 19th-century India in Ashutosh Gowariker's critically acclaimed "Lagaan" Her work on the movie earned her Best Costume Design at India's prestigious National Film Awards in 2002.

Following her death, tributes have flooded in from India's art and entertainment worlds, with actor Aamir Khan, who starred in and worked with Athaiya in "Lagaan," tweeting that she "beautifully combined accurate research and cinematic flair to bring to life the director's vision. " Actress Kasturi Shankar meanwhile described Athaiya as a "legendary costume designer and pathbreaking woman. "

MP Raj Babbar, a well-known actor before his election to parliament in 2015, wrote on Twitter that Athaiya "made costume design a classical art," adding: "(I) was privileged to wear her designs in my initial films . . .

Top image caption: Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya backstage holding her Oscar, after winning the 1982 Academy Award for "Best Costume Designer" for her role in Gandhi.

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