Fashion designer Bhanu Athaiya who won the Oscar for the best costume design for Sir Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi” in 1983 has a repertoire of 150 films. She worked with noted filmmakers like Gurudath, Raj Kapoor, Ashutosh Gowarikar and international filmmakers like Conrad Rooks and Richard Attenborough.
She started her career as a freelance fashion illustrator with various women’s magazines in Mumbai. She designed costumes for the first time in Gurudutt’s film CID, and then there was no looking back. She dressed Waheeda Rehman in Guide which was ionic. She won two national awards for Lekin and Lagaan.
She researches extensively and pays attention to details is her forte. It was a challenge designing the costumes of thousands of characters in ‘Gandhi’. The costumes of Gandhi played by Sir Ben Kingsley which he switches from western wear to traditional Kathiawadi outfit and finally to dhoti and shawl that endured him to masses.
Detailed of Kasturba sarees from Chinese crepe with swiss velvet borders that she wears in South Africa for Khadi. She was a perfectionist in smallest of details like the one Kasturba’s sari with the motif “M” which was there in the original photograph.
She turned author with “The art of costume design” in which she traced the evolution and detailing of the costumes in Indian films.
I hope we draw some inspiration from this great personality to make our career worthwhile and rewarding.
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