Nitin Chandrakant Desai, a well-known art director who worked on films like Lagaan, Munnabhai MBBS, and Slumdog Millionaire, died at the age of 57.
On Wednesday morning, the four-time national award winner was discovered dead at his ND Studio in Karjat. Initial indications, however, indicate that he might have committed suicide. The reason for death has not yet been disclosed in detail.
“Shri Nitin Desai’s body was discovered hanging in ND Studios this morning. We are looking into all possibilities,” Raigad SP Somnath Gharge said in a statement.
According to a PTI report, Desai had fallen behind on a debt of ₹252 crores to its financial creditor, and a bankruptcy court had last week filed an insolvency suit against his company. Problems with repayment began in January 2020 for Desai’s enterprise, ND’s Art World Pvt Ltd, which had borrowed ₹185 crore through two loans from ECL Finance in 2016 and 2018. The entire default amount as of June 30, 2022, according to an order made by NCLT, was ₹252.48 crore.
Vinod Tawde, the general secretary of the BJP and a close friend of Nitin Desai, recalled, “I used to frequently speak with and advise him. I told him about Amitabh Bachchan, who had suffered enormous losses before making a grand comeback. We had assured him that he could start over even if the studio had been attached due to loans. The news of his passing is incredibly sad. He and I spoke the day before.”
Throughout his two-decade career in Bollywood, art director, and producer Nitin collaborated with renowned filmmakers like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. In addition to others, some of his well-known works are Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Jodha Akbar, Lagaan, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, and Bajirao Mastani. With Ashutosh Gowarikar, he worked on the 2019 movie Panipat, which was his final endeavor as an art director. He was recognized for his work by the Art Directors’ Guild Film Society and the American Cinematheque in Hollywood.
Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Agnihotri, and Kangana Ranaut,Hema Malini,Madhur Bhandarkar among others in the film and television industries, expressed shock and grief at his passing.