Bhanu Athaiya, an Indian costume designer, made history in 1983 when she became the first Indian to win an Academy Award. At the 55th Academy Awards, she was honored with the award for Best Costume Design for her work on the 1982 film “Gandhi”.

Athaiya was born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra in 1929. She studied art and painting at the J.J. School of Art in Mumbai, and then went on to pursue a career in costume design. She began her career in the Indian film industry in the 1950s, working on films such as “Aan” and “Amar Jyoti”. She then moved to London in the 1960s, where she worked as a costume designer for films such as “The Millionairess” and “The Guru”.

In 1982, she was approached by Richard Attenborough to design the costumes for his film “Gandhi”. She accepted the offer and spent months researching and designing the costumes for the film. Her efforts paid off and she was awarded the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 1983.

Athaiya was honored with the Padma Shri award in 1992 and the Padma Bhushan award in 2012. She was also honored with the National Film Award for Best Costume Design in 1983 for her work on “Gandhi”.

Bhanu Athaiya’s win at the Academy Awards was a major milestone for Indian cinema. Her win not only made her the first Indian to win an Oscar, but also opened the door for other Indian filmmakers and technicians to be recognized at the Academy Awards. Her legacy lives on in the many Indian filmmakers and technicians who have gone on to win Oscars in the years since.