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The 93rd Academy Awards Pays Tribute to Actor Irrfan Khan and Costume Designer Bhanu Athaiya

The 93rd Academy Awards Pays Tribute to Actor Irrfan Khan and Costume Designer Bhanu Athaiya

Staff Writer
  • While they were among film personalities honored in the ‘In Memoriam’ segment, actors Rishi Kapoor, Shashikala, Sushant Singh Kapoor were remembered on the Academy’s website.

Actor Irrfan Khan and costume designer Bhanu Athaiya were among film personalities honored at the ‘In Memoriam’ video segment at the 93rd Academy Awards, April 25. Khan, one of the first stars from India to have made major strides internationally, lost his two year battle with neuroendocrine cancer on April 29, 2020 at the age of 54. Athaiya, who won India’s first Oscar in 1983 for “Gandhi,” died at the age of 91 in Mumbai, after a long battle with a brain tumor.  

Conspicuously missing from the video were actors Rishi Kapoor, Shashikala, and Sushant Singh Rajput. However, the late Bollywood stars were remembered on the website of the Academy Awards in a special In Memoriam section.

Singh’s brother-in-law, Vishal Kirti took to twitter to share a screen shot of the website’s gallery featuring the actor. “@itsSSR featured in The Memoriam gallery at the Oscars,” he wrote.

Khan straddled a successful career in both Bollywood and Hollywood. In the 1980s, he began his career by playing small roles on Indian television. In India, he was best known for his performances in “Maqbool,” “Haasil,” “Paan Singh Tomar,” “Piku,” “The Lunchbox,” “Talvar,” and “Hindi Medium.” 

Khan found critical and commercial success with roles in Hollywood movies like Mira Nair’s “The Namesake,” the 2006 drama based on a Jhumpa Lahiri novel about Indian immigrants in America, as well as Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) and Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” (2012). Both films won multiple Academy Awards. He also appeared in blockbusters like “Jurassic World” (2015) and the screen adaptation of Dan Brown’s “Inferno” (2016). 

The New York Times says, “Khan, who was at home in both commercial and art-house projects, stood out in Bollywood for his versatility and his nuanced performances..” He first gained international attention in the BAFTA-winning film “The Warrior” (2001), in which he had the lead role of a renegade warrior in feudal India. 

Athaiya shared the Academy Award for “Gandhi” with British designer John Mollo. She has worked on more than 100 movies since the 1950s with noted filmmakers such as Guru Dutt, Yash Chopra and Raj Kapoor. She also worked on many Bollywood classics, including the Oscar-nominated film “Lagaan” in 2001. Years later she told the Indian Express daily that she saw her career as “a way to express myself and let my imagination soar.” Her first break as a movie costume designer came in Dutt’s hit film “C.I.D,” in 1956. Her Oscar win in “Gandhi” gave her international recognition. 

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Kapoor died in April last year at age 67 after a battle with leukemia. He was best known as a romantic hero, and his charm and charisma quickly made him one of Bollywood’s leading men of the 1970s and ’80s. He later began taking on more supporting roles and character parts.

Kapoor first appeared onscreen as a child actor in his father’s film “Shree 420” in 1955; in his second film, “Mera Naam Joker” (1970), he played his father’s character as a young man. He won the Filmfare Award (given by Filmfare magazine) for best debut for his first leading role, in the 1973 film “Bobby.

Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai home on June 14. Police reports confirmed that he committed suicide. He was 34.A former National Olympiad winner in physics,  and he was said to be a voracious reader and an astronomy buff. He was last see in “Dil Bechara,” based on “The Fault in Our Stars,” the 2012 novel by John Green.

Veteran actress Shashikala died on sprit 4, 2021 at the age of 88. She has played the supporting character parts in over 100 movies. She was honored with the Padma Shri award by the Indian government for her unparalleled contribution to the world of cinema and arts in 2007. She was also conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the V. Shantaram Awards in 2009. Apart from this, she received two Filmfare awards for her work in “Aarti” and “Gumrah.” Shashikala was last seen in the 2005 release “Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav,” wherein she portrayed the role of a South African witness.

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