Fashion is a vibrant and ever-evolving art form that reflects the spirit of an era. In the annals of Indian fashion history, one event stands out as a pivotal moment in time – the first Calico fashion show of 1958. In 1958, Bhanu Athaiya was invited by Ebrahim Alkazi to design the first traveling promotional fashion show in independent India for Calico Mills. This event took place at the "India '58" Trade Fair in New Delhi, making it a pivotal moment in Indian fashion history.
Bhanu Athaiya won India its first Oscar in 1983 for the film Gandhi in the Best Costume Design category. As a child, Bhanu Athaiya was surrounded by the growing surge of Indian consciousness and the influence of Gandhi. People had taken to wearing khadi clothes and Gandhi caps. This first-hand influence of Gandhi in her life was something she could not have developed with any amount of reading or research. Richard Attenborough, a foreign film director, came to India to make a film on Gandhi after 17 years of visiting the country repeatedly. He appointed Bhanu as the film's costume designer.
Following the opening of The Legacy of Bhanu Athaiya exhibit was an insightful discussion between stalwarts Ritu Kumar (Textile Historian and Fashion Designer) and Kiran Nadar (Founder and Chairperson KNMA). H.H. MAHARANI Radhika Raje Gaekwad of Baroda inaugurated the event and fondly spoke of her learnings while documenting and intensively researching the legacy of India's most globally renowned costume designer Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya.
Actor Tanuja narrates Bhanu Athaiya's transition from art to Indian cinema while carrying her love for art on her sleeve. Lovingly addressed by Bhanu as 'Tanu', the actor reminisces about Bhanu's eagerness to delve into the actor's role before designing her costumes.
Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya (b. 1929) was born in her 300-year-old sprawling ancestral house in the heart of Kolhapur. Bhanu grew up surrounded by indigenous and western political, social and cultural influences. Her ability to translate all this information into the medium of cinema and art made her the first Indian ever to win an Oscar. Bhanu Athaiya is not only recognised as the revered doyenne of Indian costume designers; but also a remarkable modernist artist.
Lalitha Lajmi an Indian painter recalls her childhood days and memories with late filmmaker and brother Guru Dutt in these handwritten notes. These notes give us an insight into the influences that led her to nurture her passion for art and cinema. Read on to know more.