Bhanu Athaiya

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Bhanu Athaiya
Bhanu Athaiya.jpg
Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye

(1929-04-28)28 April 1929
Died15 October 2020(2020-10-15) (aged 91)
Occupation Costume designer
Years active1956–2004
Spouse(s)Satyendra Athaiya (separated)

Bhanu Athaiya (née Annasaheb Rajopadhye; 28 April 1929 15 October 2020) was an Indian costume designer. She worked on over 100 films, with Indian filmmakers such as Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra, B.R. Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Vijay Anand, Raj Khosla, and Ashutosh Gowariker; and international directors such Conrad Rooks and Richard Attenborough. She was the first Indian to win an Academy Award, winning one for costume design for Gandhi in 1982.



Athaiya was born in Kolhapur in Maharashtra of British India. She was the third of the seven children born to Annasaheb and Shantabai Rajopadhye. Athaiya's father, Annasaheb was a painter. He died when Athaiya was nine years old. [1]

Athaiya died on 15 October 2020 from complications of brain cancer at a medical center in South Mumbai, aged 91. [2]


Athaiya started her career as a freelance fashion illustrator for various women's magazines in Bombay, including the 'Eve's Weekly'. Later when its editor opened a boutique, she asked Athaiya to try designing dresses, hereupon she discovered her flair for designing clothes. Her success as a designer soon led to her switching career paths. Her career began by designing clothes for Guru Dutt's films, starting with C.I.D. (1956). She soon became a part of the Guru Dutt team. [3]

She made her debut as a film costume designer with the film C.I.D. in 1956, [4] and followed it up with other Guru Dutt films such as Pyaasa (1957), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). In her career spanning 50 years she has received numerous awards. She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (shared with John Mollo) for her work in the 1982 film, Gandhi . She became the first Indian to win an Academy Award. [4] [5] She also won two National Film Awards, in 1991 [6] and 2002. [7]

In a career spanning over 100 films, she worked with Indian filmmakers such as Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra, B.R. Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Vijay Anand, Raj Khosla, and Ashutosh Gowariker, and international directors such Conrad Rooks and Richard Attenborough. [8] [9] [10]

In March 2010, Athaiya released her book The Art of Costume Design, published by Harper Collins. [11] On 13 January 2013, Athaiya presented a copy of the book to the Dalai Lama. [12] [13]

On 23 February 2012, it was reported that Athaiya wished to return her Academy Award to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because she felt that her family will not be able to take care of the trophy after her demise. [14] On 15 December 2012, it was confirmed that the trophy had been returned to The Academy. [15]

Awards and nominations

Academy Award for Best Costume Design Gandhi Won [16]
BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design GandhiNominated [17]
National Film Award for Best Costume Design Lekin... Won [6]
National Film Award for Best Costume Design Lagaan Won [7]
Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award Won [18]
Laadli Lifetime Achievement AwardWon [19]


Source(s): [20]

2015 Nagrik
2008 Phir Kabhi
2004 Swades
2001 Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
2001 Dhyaas Parva
2000 Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
1995 Prem
1995 The Cloud Door (Himmelspforte, Die)
1995 Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India
1993 1942: A Love Story
1993 Sahibaan
1992 Parampara
1991 Henna
1991 Ajooba
1990 Lekin...
1990 Agneepath
1989 Chandni
1988 Hero Hiralal
1987 Kaash
1986 Sultanat
1985 Ram Teri Ganga Maili
1985 Faasle
1985 Salma
1985 Yaadon Ki Kasam
1984 Tarang
1983 Razia Sultan
1983 Pukar
1982 Gandhi
1982 Prem Rog
1982 Nikaah
1981 Biwi-O-Biwi: The Fun-Film
1981 Hotel
1981 Rocky
1980 Insaaf Ka Tarazu
1980 Agreement
1980 The Burning Train
1980 Karz
1980 Abdullah
1979 Meera
1979 Mr. Natwarlal
1979 Suhaag
1979 Jaani Dushman
1978 Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime
1978 Karmayogi
1978 Shalimar
1978 Ghar
1978 Ganga Ki Saugandh
1977 Alaap
1977 Aaina
1977 Ab Kya Hoga
1976 Udhar Ka Sindur
1976 Hera Pheri
1976 Mehbooba
1976 Nagin
1976 Aaj Ka Mahaatma
1976 Chalte Chalte
1976 Do Anjaane
1975 Aakraman
1975 Kala Sona
1975 Dharam Karam
1975 Prem Kahani
1974 Chor Machaye Shor
1974 Bidaai
1973 Dhund
1973 Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar
1973 Keemat
1973 Anamika
1973 Bandhe Haath
1972 Siddhartha
1972 Dastaan
1972 Raaste Kaa Patthar
1972 Roop Tera Mastana
1972 Apna Desh
1972 Mere Jeevan Saathi
1971 Tere Mere Sapne
1971 Pyar Ki Kahani
1971 Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee
1971 Maryada
1970 Johny Mera Naam
1970 Himmat
1970 Khilona
1970 Mera Naam Joker
1970 Maa Aur Mamta
1969 Jeene Ki Raah
1969 Intaquam
1968 Brahmachari
1967 Anita
1967 Patthar Ke Sanam
1967 Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan
1966 Amrapali
1966 Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi
1966 Mera Saaya
1966 Teesri Manzil
1966 Budtameez
1965 Guide
1965 Janwar
1965 Kaajal
1965 Waqt
1965 Mere Sanam
1964 Dulha Dulhan
1964 Leader
1962 Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam
1961 Ganga Jamuna
1960 Chaudhvin Ka Chand
1959 Dil Deke Dekho
1959 Kaagaz Ke Phool
1959 Kavi Kalidas
1957 Pyaasa
1956 C.I.D.

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