Yesteryear actor Tanuja on Bhanu 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's design research surpassed the usual when her curious mind took over; asking the actor questions such as "What colour do you see your character wearing?" Her calm demeanor, with her intense research and designing skills, created Hindi cinema's most iconic costumes.

Tanuja recalls the Indian film industry back in the day as a family with shared feelings of respect regardless of the role of a costume designer, director, actor, or spot boy. Bhanu shared a rapport with each member involved in the film where everyone trusted she knew best in her area of expertise. Bhanu's confidence in her designs was contagious. Narrating one such anecdote from Tanuja's film Izzat, she recalls expressing a dislike for a certain saree's colour. Bhanu calmly asked her to wait till she saw it on the screen. Tanuja later revealed that the Oscar-winning designer was right!

Be it Mumtaz's vibrant Brahmachari saree or Helen's western cabaret costumes; each of Bhanu's costumes was assembled and created from scratch which made them one of a kind and impossible to recreate even today.

For the benefit of today's and future generations of artists, filmmakers, designers, and film enthusiasts; we believe it is important to document the landmark work and history of Bhanu Athaiya. Prinseps presents, ‘The legacy of Bhanu Athaiya’, 28th January 2023 - 1st February 2023 at Bikaner House, Delhi.

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