Do you know which award is considered one of the most prestigious in the world for entertainment? I hope you guessed it right. It is none other than the Academy Awards, which are famously known as “Oscars.” Winning an Oscar is the dream of every artist.
The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in the year 1929 at a private dinner that was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The Oscars were first broadcast by radio in 1930 and televised for the first time in 1953.
Over the years, several actors, filmmakers, and composers from around the globe have won this prestigious award. If we are talking about winners from around the world, do you know who was the first person from India to win this prestigious Academy Award?
If not, then keep reading to know more details about the person who made all the Indians proud by holding the prestigious award for the first time.
Bhanu Athaiya: First Indian to win the Academy Award
The first Indian to win an Academy Award was none other than Bhanu Athaiya. In India, when we talk about people who won Oscars for India, the name of the legendary composer AR Rahman always pops up in your mind.
Definately, Rahman made India proud by winning the Academy Award, but before him, it was Bhanu Athaiya, and most people didn’t even know about her. Bhanu Athaiya, the famous costume designer from the 1980s, became the first Indian and the first woman from India to win an Oscar.
In the year 1983, Bhanu Athaiya received the prestigious award for her costumes in the 1982 movie “Gandhi.”
About Bhanu Athaiya
Athaiya was born on April 28, 1929, in Kohlapur, Maharashtra, and she was born during the British era. Bhanu was the third child of Annasaheb and Shantabai Rajopadhye. Her father, Annasaheb, was a photographer and used to work in the films of Baburao Painter. Bhanu Atahiya was just 11 years old when her father left the world.
Bhanu studied at the Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai. For her outstanding performance throughout the course, Bhanu won the Usha Deshmukh Gold Medal in 1951 for the artwork titled ‘Lady in Repose’.
Bhanu Athaiya Career
While in college, Bhanu started her career as an artist and worked part time on different projects, like as a freelance fashion illustrator for women’s magazines like “Eve’s Weekly” and “Fashion & Beauty”.
Several people don’t know this, but Bhanu Athaiya was not always a costume designer. She started her career as a fashion illustrator for various magazines in Mumbai, and only then did she climb the success ladder of a costume designer!
Bhanu Athaiya made her Bollywood debut in the year 1956 with Raj Khosla’s “CID”. She then went on to design costumes for hundreds of other films like “Pyaasa”, “Guide”, “Lagaan” and “Swades”, among many others. She worked with great names in the film industry, including Yash Chopra, Ashutosh Gowariker, B.R. Chopra, Raj Khosla, and Guru Dutt.
Bhanu Athaiya Death
The last time Bhanu Athaiya designed the costumes was in 2015 for the movie “Nagrik”, after which she succumbed to a brain tumour. She had earlier returned her Oscar to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences in Los Angeles when she came to know of her ailment to keep her award safe.
While not everyone knows that Oscar has not been her only prized possession, She also was a recipient of the National Award for costume design twice, for the movies “Lekin” (1991) and “Lagaan” (2001). She also received her Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Indians Who won Academy Awards
Apart from Bhanu Athaiya, there are few other Indian gems who won this prestigious recognition, and one of them is the famous Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who received an Honorary Academy Award in 1992 at the 64th Academy Awards for his excellent contribution to motion pictures. He was the first Indian to receive an honorary Oscar.
A list of people won the Academy Awards for India, and most recently, S. S. Rajamouli, who directed RRR, created history by winning the first Academy Award for India in 2023 in the category of Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu.
The Elephant Whisperers, by Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga, won the prestigious Academy Award for 2023 in the category of Best Documentary Short Film.
Ans. Bhanu Athaiya received the prestigious award for her costumes in the 1982 movie “Gandhi”.
Ans. In the year 1983, Bhanu Athaiya recieved the Academy Award.
Ans. Bhanu Atahiya was born on April 28, 1929, in Kohlapur, Maharashtra.