Several Bollywood personalities such as Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra and others have paid tribute to costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, who died at the age of 91 on Thursday. She was India’s first Oscar-winner, an honour that she received for the 1983 film Gandhi.
Aamir took to Twitter and wrote, “Bhanuji was one of those film people who beautifully combined accurate research and cinematic flair to bring to life the director’s vision. You will be missed Bhanuji. My heartfelt condolences to the family.” Bhanu Athaiya also worked on Aamir’s Oscar-nominated film, Lagaan.
Priyanka Chopra wrote in an Instagram story that ‘her legacy will live on forever’. In her post, Priyanka wrote, “What an amazing body of work — Oscar-winning costume designer for Gandhi, the inventor of the Mumtaz saree. An inspiration to so many young designers. Her legacy will live on forever. My condolences to the family.”
Her daughter, Radhika Gupta told PTI that Bhanu had been diagnosed with a brain tumour eight years ago and had been bedridden for the last three years, with one side of her body paralysed. Talk show host and close friend of the costume designer, Simi Garewal, said that she didn’t remember any of her films, except Gandhi. “It was very hard to talk to her. I felt sad… Is this what happens to talented human being? It is a huge sense of loss. She had brain tumour too for eight years. Maybe it was time for her to be at peace. She has left a legacy,” she said.
In her Twitter tribute, actor Renuka Shahane wrote, “RIP Bhanu Athaiya. What an amazing, committed Costume designer she was. Winner of an Oscar award, the pride of our country, yet so very humble. I had the great privilege of working with her in the Marathi film Katha Don Ganpatravanchi.”
Producer Boney Kapoor wrote in a tweet, “Bhanu Athiya was the First Indian to win an Oscar in 1983. Her achievements brought glory to Indian cinema and Pride to the entire Country. Was blessed to have her for our film #Prem. She will always be an inspiration to all costume designers n stylists.”
Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty called her a ‘guiding light’ and wrote in a tweet, When nobody even heard of the Oscars you won it for us, you been an inspiration… May your soul Rest In Peace… It’s a huge loss for me personally and The Academy.”
Also read: Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, who won India its first Oscar, dies at 91
Her last film was the 2004 social drama Swades. Recalling her Oscar win, she wrote in her book: “When they called my name, I was in a daze. I don’t even recall who handed me the award. All I managed to say was ‘This is too good to be true.'” In 2012 she returned her trophy to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for safe-keeping.
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