Award-winning Bollywood director, Nitin Desai has been found dead in his studio, prompting a police investigation.
The film-maker, 58, was reportedly found by police this morning after being alerted by residents at the Karjat residence in India. Local media say a probe has been launched into Nitin’s death with the investigation ongoing.`
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.
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.
Reacting to the news of his tragic death, the director’s close friend Vinod Tawde told Hindustan Times: “I used to often speak with him. It’s very sad to hear about his death. I spoke to him the day before.”
Director Ashutosh Gowariker, who worked with Nitin on films, including projects like Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar, told publication, Pinkvilla he was: “Stunned. Shocked. No words. On the way to ND Studios, Karjat.”
Film-maker Ketan Mehta also expressed shock at his friend’s passing. 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.”
Nitin was hugely respected in the Bollywood industry, winning the National Award winner for Best Art Direction four times.
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.