Industry colleagues condole noted art director Nitin Desai’s demise

Mumbai: Film personalities such as Riteish Deshmukh, Siddhartha Basu, and Neil Nitin Mukesh on Wednesday paid tributes to renowned art director Nitin Desai, calling him a “genius” and a “positive soul”.

Desai, a four-time National Award winner, was found hanging on Wednesday at his studio in Maharashtra’s Raigad district neighbouring Mumbai, a senior police official said.

Prima facie, it seems to be a case of suicide, the official said, adding they are investigating the case from all angles.

Basu, who worked with Desai on popular reality shows such as “Kaun Banega Crorepati” and “Dus Ka Dum”, said he was shocked to hear about the passing of his “friend and artistic collaborator”.

“He made sets for so many of our shows – KBC, Kamzor Kadi, Heartbeat, Bluffmaster, Dus ka Dum, Sach ka Saamna.. Conjuring world class installations on an industrial scale. Om shanti,” Basu wrote on Twitter.

Desai was known for his art work in films such as “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”, “Lagaan”, “Jodhaa Akbar” and “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”. In his career spanning over 30 years, Desai closely worked with directors like Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani, and Ashutosh Gowariker.

Neil said it is difficult to accept the heartbreaking news of Desai’s death. The late art director worked on “Jail”, the 2009 film starring the actor.

“Our beloved #nitindesai has left for his heavenly abode. He was simply a genius. A visionary artist with grace, style who understood not just his craft but people. He was a positive soul who spread only love to all. My God give his family strength. Om Shanti,” he wrote on the microblogging site.

Actor Riteish Deshmukh remembered Desai as a soft-spoken visionary.

“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. I had known him for years.. soft spoken, humble, ambitious & a visionary… you will be missed my friend. Om Shanti (sic),” Deshmukh tweeted.

The news of Desai’s demise is “devastating”, said filmmaker Sanjay Gupta.

“I can’t believe this news. Nitin Desai was the best at what he did. We worked on a few films together. Always smiling, always making life easier on set. This news is devastating. Rest In Peace my friend. You will always be missed,” Gupta tweeted.

Actor Parineeti Chopra said she was “heartbroken” to hear about Desai’s passing.  “His groundbreaking work, wisdom and artistry will be remembered forever. Rest in peace sir,” she wrote.

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