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India’s first Oscar winner, Bhanu Athaiya has died at 91

India’s first Oscar winner, Bhanu Athaiya has died at the age of 91.

She was renowned for designing costumes for top filmmakers in a career that spanned nearly five decades.

Athaiya was bedridden in recent years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012, her family said. She died peacefully in the city of Mumbai.




She shared an Oscar for her work on a biopic about Mahatma Gandhi in 1983.

The invitation by British filmmaker Richard Attenborough to work on the film about the Indian independence leader shot her to global prominence. She shared the award for the Best Costume Design with acclaimed British designer John Mollo.

Athaiya had worked on more than 100 movies since the 1950s with noted filmmakers such as Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra and Raj Kapoor. She also worked on many Bollywood classics, including the Oscar-nominated film Lagaan in 2001.



In tributes, Athaiya has been revered as a “great” of cinema fashion whose award-winning costumes “put India on the world map”.

Athaiya is survived by her daughter, Radhika Gupta.