The Legacy of Bhanu Athaiya
India’s first Academy Award winner and the woman who reshaped Hindi Cinema Bhanu Athaiya has passed away at the age of 91
In 1983 Bhanu made Indian history by winning an Oscar for Best Costume Design for Lord Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. Supporting the Motherland during her acceptance speech she said, “It’s too good to believe. Thank you Academy and thank you Sir Richard Attenborough for focusing world attention on India”. She later returned the Oscar in 2012 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for safekeeping.
Alongside her Oscar the renowned costume designer had quite the trophy cabinet winning National Awards in India for Gulzar’s Lekin (1990) and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001), the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and the Laadli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Originally starting her career as a fashion illustrator for various women’s magazines in Bombay, she moved into costume design marking the start of a spectacular career. Her debut was in Guru Dutt’s 1956 hit film C.I.D. and the rest is history.
As her career progressed Bhanu started to design for landmark films in Bollywood cinema which, to this day, totals in over 100 Indian films over 60 years including working alongside major directors such as Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, BR Chopra and Yash Chopra to name a few.
Working on a whole range of landmark films, including Suhaag, Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Zeenat Aman) and Aamrapaali (actress Vyjayanthimala) check below for a list her entire filmography which encompasses her impact on the industry and portrays the mark she’s left on the Hindi film industry for years to come.
50s – C.I.D., Pyaasa, Kavi Kalidas, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Dil Deke Dekho
60s – Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Gang Jamuna, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Leader, Dulha Dulhan, Mere Sanam, Waqt, Kaajal, Janwar, Guide, Budtameez, Teesri Manzil, Mera Saaya, Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, Amrapali, Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan, Patthar Ke Sanam, Anita, Brahmachari, Intaquam, Jeene Ki Raah
70s – Maa Aur Mamta, Mera Naam Joker, Khilona, Himmat, Johny Mera Naam, Maryada, Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee, Pyar Ki Kahani, Tere Mere Sapne, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Apna Desh, Roop Tera Mastana, Raaste Kaa Patthar, Dastaan, Siddhartha, Bandhe Haath, Anamika, Keemat, Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar, Dhund, Bidaai, Chor Machaye Shor, Prem Kahani, Dharam Karam, Kala Sona, Aakraman, Do Anjaane, Chalte Chalte, Aaj Ka Mahaatma, Nagin, Mehbooba, Hera Pheri, Udhar Ka Sindur, Ab Kya Hoga, Aaina, Alaap, Ganga Ki Saugandh, Ghar, Shalimar, Karmayogi, Satya Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime, Jaani Dushman, Suhaag, Mr Natwarlal, Meera
80s – Abdullah, Karz, The Burning Train, Agreement, Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Rocky, Hotel, Biwi-O-Biwi: The Fun-Film, Nikaah, Prem Rog, Gandhi, Puzar, Razia Sultan, Tarang, Yaadon Ki Kasam, Salma, Faasle, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Sultanat, Kaash, Hero Hiralal, Chandni
90s – Agneepath, Lekin.., Ajooba, Henna, Parampara, Sahibaan, 1942: A Love Story, Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India, The Cloud Door (Himmelspforte, Die), Prem
00s – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Dhyaas Parva, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, Swades