Some Lesser Known Facts About Bhanu Athaiya
- She was born in a Brahmin family and was the third child to her parents.
- Her father Annasaheb was a painter; who used to motivate his family members for having an artistic vision. Later, Bhanu Athaiya realized her inherited interest in arts and decided to make her career in the same.
- Her art education began at a very young age. Her father arranged a drawing teacher for her who used to visit her home to give drawing lessons to her.
- Later, her father sent her to Maharashtra where she studied arts at the Sir JJ School of Arts (Mumbai).
- At the age of 9, she lost her father. Even, after this great loss, she never gave a single thought of backing off from achieving her passion. She completed her graduation in Fine Arts with high grades and was honoured with a fellowship and a gold medal for the same.
- She began her career as a freelancer in Mumbai and started working for women’s magazines including “Eve Weekly” as a fashion illustrator. Her actual fashion designing journey started when she got her first outfit designing project from one of the magazines’ editors for his boutique.
- She got her first costume designing assignment from Kamini Kaushal. She started by designing her personal clothes and then went on to designing her outfits in the films including “Shahenshah” (1953) and “Chalis Baba Ek Chor” (1954).
- In 1956, she designed the costumes for Guru Dutt‘s film “C.I.D;” which starred Dev Anand, K. N. Singh, Shakila, Waheeda Rehman, and Johnny Walker.
- With her remarkable job, she came into the eyes of other filmmakers in the Indian Film Industry. Soon, she got the opportunities to work with Raj Kapoor, Ashutosh Gowariker, Yash Chopra, and others.
- Later, she got the chance to work with international film directors including Conard Rooks and Richard Attenborough. with her tremendous job, soon she became a well-known name in the international fashion industry.
- In her fashion designing career, she has worked for more than 100 films including Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Pyaasa, Waqt, Karz, Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam, Ganga Jamuna, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, The Burning Train, Guide, and more.
- She has received a number of awards for her remarkable work in the fashion designing world. On 11 April 1983, after winning an Oscar for the film “Gandhi” (1982), she became the first Indian to receive this honour. Here’s the video of Bhanu Athaiya’s receiving her Academy Award:
- In 2004, she worked for the film “Swades.” It is considered the last Hindi film of her career as an outfit designer. The movie starred Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Rajesh Vivek, Makarand Deshpande, Daya Shankar Pandey, and more.
- In 2010, she published her book “The Art of Costume Design” along with HarperCollins. Later, she presented one copy of her book to the Dalai Lama.
- In 2012, she got diagnosed with brain tumour and decided to return her Oscar to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). She said, “Academy would be the safest place for my trophy to remain in perpetuity after my demise.” On 8 December 2012, she finally returned it to The Academy.
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