Academy Award-winning costume designer, Bhanu Athaiya died at the age of 91 last evening.
In 2012, Athaiya had been diagnosed with a benign brain tumour.
On April 11, 1983, Athaiya made history at the 55th Annual Academy Awards when she became the first Indian to win an Oscar. She won the award for Best Costume Design for her work in Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. She remains the only Indian woman to have ever won an Oscar.
“On the way to the awards in the limousine, the film’s writer John Briley turned to me and said, ‘The win will be yours. I asked him why he thought so and he said, ‘Your canvas was so huge.’ Later, as I sat with the other nominees in my category, some of them turned to me and said the same thing. I did not let any of this affect me. I’d done my work and had decided that now it was for the world to decide whether I deserved to win or not. When they called my name, I was in a daze. I don’t even recall who handed me the award. All I managed to say was ‘Thank you Sir Richard for focusing world attention on India. Thank you, Academy’,” Athaiya said on April 13, recalling her historic win, according to Mumbai Mirror.