Four-time National award winning art director/ production designer Nitin Chandrakant Desai has died at 57. Desai has prominently worked on movies like Jodhaa Akbar (2008), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Devdas (2002) and the Oscar-nominated Lagaan (2001), and his death prima facie was ruled out to be a suicide by Maharashtra police, after finding the dead body at ND Studios in Karjat.
Nitin Desai's company ND's Art World Pvt Ltd was in the middle of a loan default negotiation with Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company over ND Studios, which famously served as the set of the Jodhaa Akbar film starring Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The total default amount as on June 30, 2022 is said to have been Rs. 252.48 Cr.
"I used to often speak and counsel him. I had told him on how Amitabh Bachchan had faced immense losses and come back in life again. We had told him that even if the studio was attached due to loans, he could start afresh. It's very sad to hear about his death. I spoke to him day before." - Nitin Desai's close friend and BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde
A few months ago the financial creditors who had originally loaned Rs. 185 Cr. had approached the Raigad district authorities to take possession of the ND Studio. In 2021, ND Studio was set ablaze due to a rookie fire accident resulting in loss of property, and the creditors had infamously sent a recovery notice on the same day.
Deeply shocked to know that #NitinDesai, a legendary Production Designer who has contributed immensely to the growth of Indian cinema in no more. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) August 2, 2023
I had known him for years.. soft spoken, humble, ambitious & a visionary… you… pic.twitter.com/Pgkz4Mx3K7
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar remembers art director #NitinDesai— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) August 2, 2023
"I worked with him in four films -Traffic Signal, Fashion, Indu Sarkar and Jail. He was a talented art director. His contribution to the Indian film industry will always be remembered. Heartful condolences to his… pic.twitter.com/xgl1ME6aSb
Unbelievably sad to know about the demise of Nitin Desai. He was a stalwart in production design and such a big part of our cinema fraternity. He worked on so many of my films… this is a huge loss. Out of respect, we are not releasing the OMG 2 trailer today. Will launch it…— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) August 2, 2023
#nitindesai committed #Suicide. He made the 5 acre set of my mega serial #GeetaRahasya with a lot of research & zeal. It is hight time we take psychological health more seriously & offer timely help. Indian #Cinema will miss him. My prayers for his soul's sadgati. pic.twitter.com/8NeXLM0upH— Nitish Bharadwaj (@nitishkrishna8) August 2, 2023