Bhanu Athaiya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bhanu Athaiya
Bhanu Athaiya.jpg
Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye

(1929-04-28) 28 April 1929 (age 89)
Occupationcostume designer
Years active1956-2004
Spouse(s)Satyendra Athaiya (separated, now widowed)
Awards1982: Best Costume Design: Gandhi
Best Costume Design
1991: Lekin...
2002: Lagaan

Bhanu Athaiya née Rajopadhye (Marathi: भानु अथैय्या; born 28 April 1929) is an Indian costume designer, having worked in over 100 films, since the 1950s, with noted filmmakers like Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra, Raj Kapoor, Ashutosh Gowariker, and international directors like Conrad Rooks and Richard Attenborough.

She made her debut as a film costume designer with the film C.I.D. in 1956,[1] and followed it up with other Guru Dutt classics like 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.[1][2] She also won two National Film Awards, in 1991[3] and 2002.[4]

In March 2010, Athaiya released her book The Art of Costume Design, published by Harper Collins.[5] On 13 January 2013, Athaiya presented a copy of the book to the Dalai Lama.[6][7]

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.[8] On 15 December 2012, it was confirmed that the trophy had been returned to The Academy.[9]


Bhanu Athaiya was born Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye in Kolhapur in Maharashtra. 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.[10]

Her education in art began early. An art teacher used to come home to teach her drawing. Later after finishing her schooling, she enrolled at Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai. She graduated from there in fine arts with top honors, winning a gold medal and a fellowship. She was also nominated a member of the Progressive Artists' Group, founded by Francis Newton Souza.


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.[11]

A tribute was paid to her body of work at the opening of the South Asian International Film Festival, New York in November 2005.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Athaiya was married to Satyendra Athaiya, a poet and occasional lyricist for Hindi films. The marriage ended in separation, and she never remarried. The couple has one daughter, who currently resides with her family in Kolkata. Athaiya currently resides in Mumbai.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Film Result Ref.
Academy Award for Best Costume Design Gandhi Won [12]
BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design Gandhi Nominated [13]
National Film Award for Best Costume Design Lekin... Won [3]
National Film Award for Best Costume Design Lagaan Won [4]
Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award Won [14]
Laadli Lifetime Achievement Award Won [15]


Year Title
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.


  1. ^ a b Chatterjee, Madhusree (20 February 2009). "Bhanu Athaiya - India's first Oscar winner walks down memory lane". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  2. ^ "From dandy to Dandi, it was a long journey". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b "38th National Film Awards". Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  4. ^ a b "49th National Film Awards". Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original on 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  5. ^ "The Art of Costume Design, by Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya". HarperCollins Publishers India. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  6. ^ "No one will fight China to make a stand for Tibet". Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Athaiya meets Dalai Lama". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  8. ^ Singh, Lada (23 February 2012). "First Indian to win an Oscar, Bhanu Athaiya wants to return her award". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  9. ^ Ghosh, Avijit (15 December 2012). "Bhanu Athaiya returns Oscar fearing theft". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  10. ^ Lala, Smita (7 May 2008). "My Fundays: Bhanu Athaiya". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  11. ^ Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema, by Nasreen Munni Kabir. Published by Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-563849-2. pp 117-118.
  12. ^ "The 55th Academy Awards (1983) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  13. ^ "Film in 1983 - BAFTA Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  14. ^ "Filmfare: 'Jodha...' bags 5, Priyanka, Hrithik shine". The Times of India. The Times Group. 1 March 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  15. ^ "NGO to honour Bhanu Athaiya with Lifetime Achievement award". The Times of India. The Times Group. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.

External links[edit]

The New York Times'