Film personalities on Wednesday condoled the demise of celebrated art director Nitin Desai, remembering him as a 'genius' and 'a warm human being'.
Desai, known for designing sets of popular big-budget titles such as Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, was found hanging at his studio in the Karjat area of Raigad, about 50 km from Mumbai, said a senior police official. Desai was 57.
Actor-politician Hema Malini said Desai's death was a 'terrible loss' to the film industry.
'Such a warm human being, associated with many of my projects and ballets... May he find peace wherever he is,' she tweeted.
Bhansali Productions, founded by director Bhansali, paid homage to Desai on social media. The banner shared a photo of the art director on its Instagram Stories and captioned it as 'May your soul rest in peace'.
'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,' actor Sanjay Dutt wrote on Twitter.
Neil Nitin Mukesh 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', Nitin posted on Twitter.
Siddhartha Basu, who worked with Desai on 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 tweeted.
Desai was also known for his art work for films such as Jodhaa Akbar, Swades, Parinda, and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Parinda, as well as web series Paurashpur.
In his career spanning over 30 years, Desai won National Film Awards for Best Art Direction for four films: Jabbar Patel's Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar (1999), Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (2000), Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan (2002) and Bhansali's Devdas (2003).
Manoj Bajpayee said it will take him some time to process the demise of Desai, whom he called 'a great artiste and lovely friend'.
Suniel Shetty called Desai 'one of the most talented art directors and one of the finest human beings'.
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', Deshmukh tweeted.
Film-maker Rahul Dholakia said Desai was 'one of the best production designers we had'. 'I met and worked with him on Hum Panchi Ek Daal Ke -- heartfelt condolences to his team, his family and the staff at ND studio,' said the director in a tweet.
Sound designer Resul Pookutty said he was 'shocked beyond belief' to learn about Desai's death.
'Always smiling, creative, problem solver, ambitious and a man who walked ahead of an Industry, my dear #NitinDesai You will be missed... Everybody is fighting a battle that we don't know about.. strength to the family...' the Oscar winner tweeted.
The news of Desai's demise is 'devastating', said film-maker 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.
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.
Abhishek Bachchan said he was, 'Very sad to hear about the passing of Nitin Desai. We worked on so many films together. Was such a fine artist and a gentleman. May god grant him and his family peace.'
Akshay Kumar postponed the trailer launch of his film OMG2 and tweeted, '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 tomorrow at 11 am. Om Shanti'.
Aamir Khan says, 'It will take a while before we can accept the fact that Nitin Chandrakant Desai, who has shaped and given life to so many of our projects including Lagaan, is no longer with us. Rest in peace Sir. We will miss you and your incredible craft.'
Daler Mehndi tweeted, 'Deeply saddened to learn about the untimely demise of Nitin Desai Ji, a visionary man whose talent left a lasting impact on the film world. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.'