Bhanu Athaiya's most celebrated and apparent recognition will always be her becoming the first Indian Oscar awardee. But the renowned costume designer, who passed away on Thursday, is also one of the most essential figures of Hindi cinema.
An early player in the field, Athaiya diversified the idea of feminine fashion in films with her vision and constant re-imagination thereby creating some of the most iconic costumes in Hindi cinema history. Be it the trendsetting styling of Waqt, Teesri Manzil and Brahmachari, the awe-inspiring designs of Amrapali, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, and Guide or the research-rich authenticity of Ganga Jumna or Lagaan, the sheer scope and versatility of Athaiya’s designs are second to none.
With a career spanning from the '50s to the early 2000s, Athaiya contributed to almost every significant film of its time and formed successful collaborations with top filmmakers like Guru Dutt, the Chopra brothers, Vijay Anand among others.