"Shocking news this morning"
Bollywood art director Nitin Desai was found dead at his studio in Maharashtra’s Raigad district.
Police discovered his body and have launched an investigation. It is suspected that he took his own life but more details will confirm how Nitin died.
According to reports, Nitin had trouble paying back a loan worth hundreds of crores and a bankruptcy court had admitted an insolvency petition against his company.
Nitin Desai’s company, ND’s Art World Pvt Ltd, had reportedly borrowed Rs. 185 Crore (£17.5 million) through two loans from ECL Finance in 2016 and 2018.
His financial troubles reportedly began in January 2020.
As news of his sudden death broke, celebrities paid tribute to the renowned art director.
Riteish Deshmukh wrote: “Deeply shocked to know that Nitin Desai, a legendary production designer who has contributed immensely to the growth of Indian cinema is no more.
“My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.
“I had known him for years… soft-spoken, humble, ambitious and a visionary… you will be missed my friend. Om Shanti.”
Kangana Ranaut said: “Such terrible news!! Beyond shocked… pained beyond words… Om Shanti.”
Hema Malini wrote: “Shocking news this morning – Art Director Nitin Desai is no more.
“Such a warm human being, associated with many of my projects and ballets, his passing is a terrible loss to the film industry. May he find peace wherever he is.”
Sanjay Dutt tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Nitin Desai.
“A brilliant art director and a good friend, his contribution to Indian cinema has been monumental.
“My thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Nitin Desai began his career as an assistant art director on the television film Tamas.
He later worked as an assistant art director on various TV shows such as Kabir and Chanakya before becoming an independent art director on the latter.
Nitin continued to work on television series, including Bharat Ek Khoj, Kora Kagaz and Swabhimaan.
He made his Bollywood debut as an art director with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
His other successful Bollywood films include Lagaan, Devdas, Swades, Jodhaa Akbar and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.
Nitin Desai’s work was praised by critics and audiences.
He received four National Film Awards for Best Art Direction and three Filmfare Best Art Direction Awards. In 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India.
He founded ND Studios and produced the 2002 film Desh Devi.
Nitin’s sets were known for their intricate detail and historical accuracy, creating some of the most iconic and memorable scenes in Bollywood history.