Priyanka Chopra Jonas mourn the loss of designer Bhanu Athaiya

Brunilde Fioravanti
Ottobre 17, 2020

She was diagnosed with a brain tumor eight years ago. Thank you Academy.' "As I started to walk down the stage, I saw Richard blowing kisses to me from the front row!", she wrote in her memoir titled The Art of Costume Design.

Designing costumes for Gandhi was tough, she said, because it was hard to capture the look over decades of his life with no access to the internet for inspiration.

Upon winning her Oscar (video below), Athaiya said the win was "too good to believe", before thanking Attenborough for "focusing world attention on India".

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 statuette stood on a cluttered mantlepiece in her workspace in south Bombay, where she sketched and designed till well into her 80s.

Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty shared this tribute: "A gem of Indian Cinema is gone!" She will always be an inspiration to all costume designers n stylists.

Athaiya began her career as a costume designer in Hindi cinema with Guru Dutt's 1956 superhit "C.I.D.", and went on to work in over 100 films. Then, she'd come with her tailor and spend an hour watching the fi tting closely. "We covered a huge span of 50 years of his life".

In 2012, Athaiya returned her Oscar to the custody of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Many filmmakers overseas have also handed over their trophies because their families may not be able to take care of it".

Speaking to the Times of India, costume designer Neeta Lulla said Athaiya would be missed. Actress Kasturi Shankar meanwhile described Athaiya as a "legendary costume designer and pathbreaking woman". Her 2011 book The Art of Costume Design had images of many of her film designs over the decades. Not every producer could afford her, but many obliged because they knew I was comfortable with her.

In one of many tributes on Twitter, Indian musician Adnan Sami said Athaiya "made India proud".

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. Our industry has lost of one the greats.

Athaiya shared her 1982 Oscar for Gandhi with John Mollo.

Aniruddha Guha, an Indian screenwriter, tweeted that he was in awe of Athaiya's achievements, writing: "An absolute legend".

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