Celebrated costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, who made India proud by winning an Oscar for the costume design of Gandhi (1982), passed away early morning on October 15 in her sleep. She was 91 years of age. It’s said that eight years ago, she was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain. For the last three years, she was bedridden because one side of her body was paralysed.
It must be noted that she never formally learnt fashion design but picked up the tricks of the trade on the job. She was born as Bhanumati Annasaheb Rajopadhye in Kolhapur on April 28, 1929. 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 just nine years old. In one of her interviews, she had stated that when her father finished a project, he used to call her to clean his brush and palette. That’s how she developed an interest in painting from a young age. Inspired by her father, Bhanu too started painting and later joined the JJ School of Arts.
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