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Bhanu Athaiya's treatise for Indian fashion: the art of costume design

February 26, 2010 12:59:01 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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As the Hindi cinema defines fashion in India, it indeed is befitting the status that the lady who won the first Oscars for India, Bhanu Athaiya, has come out with a book underlining the significant milestones of Indian fashion, which have been defined by the Hindi films. It is a two-part work and first part of the book was released by no less a person than Kumar Shahni the eminent director of yester years.

How many of us are aware that Bhanu Athaiya started her career as a fashion designer way back in 1956 but it took an association with Sir Richard Attenburrough and a film called GANDHI to get an Oscar. But once GANDHI established her prowess, she never looked back, manifest from the fact that she was associated with the costume designing of LAGAAN as well.

While Bhanu Athaiya has traced the journey of fashion through films with which she has been associated, it indeed is a monumental work, as Bhanu Athaiya has indeed been catalyst in defining the contours of Indian fashion. Some of her significant expressions that have indeed landmark for Indian films include, the looks that she gave to Helen in TEESRI MANZIL, in the song 'O haseena Julfon waali', or the drunk look of Meena Kumari in SAHIB BIWI AUR GHULAM, the female actors in question indeed had a different look. Particular reference is to be made of SAHIB BIWI AUR GHULAM, as she was able to give Meena Kumari an endearing look even when the canvas of expression had a Black & White base.

In the same manner, it was Bhanu Athaiya who was responsible for a glowing look for Waheeda Rehman in GUIDE and subsequently the svelte look of Zeenat Aman in SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM. The references that have been referred to are clear pointer to the fact that forte of Bhanu Athaiya was in Indian dress and costumes and she gave it her personal touch every time she was provided an opportunity to display her prowess.

It indeed is a remarkable initiative as it would encourage other such icons to chronicle their experiences of association with the Hindi film industry and the Indian film crazy public would lap initiatives of such kind. Hollywood every year comes out with such chronicles and the icons of the Hindi cinema should start chronicling their experience or else their experiences would not be available for the generations to come as most of them have reached the wrong side of the age.

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