Tuesday, November 28

Award-winning Bollywood director Nitin Desai, 58, is found dead at his studio in India as police launch probe

Award-winning Bollywood director Nitin Desai, 58, is found dead at his studio in India as police launch probe

  • Director was reportedly discovered at his film studios in Karjat, near Mumbai

Award-winning Bollywood director Nitin Desai has been found dead in his studio, prompting a police investigation.

The 58-year-old was reportedly discovered by workers at ND studios in Karjat, near Mumbai. Police rushed to the scene but he was confirmed dead. 

Desai was a huge figure in the Bollywood industry and over his 20-year career he won the National Award for Best Art Direction four times. 

He had reportedly been living in the Raigad district in Maharashtra since 2005 where he opened his 52-acre studio to make films such as Farzand and Ajintha.

Desai had allegedly admitted an insolvency petition against his company last week and was in significant debt, the Hindustan Times reported. 

Award-winning Bollywood director Nitin Desai has been found dead in his film studio

Pictured is a 'royal palace' film set on the land of Desei's 52-acre studios

Pictured is a ‘royal palace’ film set on the land of Desei’s 52-acre studios 

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar told the paper that he was shocked by the news of his friend’s death, adding that just three months ago Desai had hosted a lavish wedding party for his daughter.

Asked if he suspected Desei was struggling financially, Bhandarkar said no: ‘The wedding was really lavish. He was acting just like how a father whose daughter is getting married would act — he was happy and over the moon. Everything seemed perfect.’

The studios were also used to make sets for hit Indian TV shows such as Jodhaa Akbar and reality series Bigg Boss.

Desai worked with famous filmmakers like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani. And created numerous successful films such as 1942: A Love Story, Devdas in 2002 and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai in 2010. 

He notably helped create the sets for the Oscar-winning blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. 

Touching tributes have flooded in for the director, who police initially suspect died by suicide, according to the Indian Express.

Indian-Canadian actor Akshay Kumar wrote: ‘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.’

The 58-year-old was reportedly discovered by workers at ND studios in Karjat, near Mumbai

Desai’s close friend Vinod Tawde said: ‘I used to often speak with him. It’s very sad to hear about his death. I spoke to him the day before,’ he told the Hindustan Times. 

Director Ashutosh Gowariker, who worked with Desei, said he was ‘stunned’ and shocked’.

Film-maker Ketan Mehta also felt shocked by Desei’s untimely death. He said: ‘I have heard about his demise and I am shocked. We worked together on quite a few films Aar Ya Paar, Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India, Mangal Pandey… it has been a long association and an incredible talent. I am still shocked.’

The police statement read today: ‘We have found the body of art director Nitin Desai in his studio in Karjat. Police were informed about this by a worker on set. When the police team reached the studio we saw his body. We are investigating the case further for ascertaining all aspects in this case.’

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