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Mumbai, Aug 2 Renowned filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker says he is in shock after learning about the death of art director Nitin Desai, who worked with him on the sets of his magnum opuses ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Jodhaa Akbar’.
Desai was found hanging in a case of suspected suicide at his N.D. Studios here, early on Wednesday, official sources said.
On his way to Karjat, Gowarikar spoke to IANS about Desai’s untimely death.
He said: “Stunned. Shocked. No words. On the way to ND Studios, Karjat.”
The Karjat Police rushed to his studio for investigations and the cause of the suicide was not clear.
The end came just three days before Desai’s 58th birthday on Sunday (August 6), even as top Bollywood personalities mourned his sudden demise.
Police were attempting to verify if he has left behind any suicide note at the studio or any other location.
Among the top-rung art directors of Bollywood, the Dapoli (Ratnagiri) born Desai was the art director for major films like ‘Devdas’, ‘Lagaan’, ‘Jodhaa Akbar’, ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’, ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, etc.
‘Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India’ stars Aamir Khan alongside debutant Gracy Singh and British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne. Set in 1893, during the late Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj, the film follows the inhabitants of a village in Central India, who, burdened by high taxes and several years of drought, are challenged by an arrogant British Indian Army officer to a game of cricket as a wager to avoid paying the taxes they owe. The villagers face the arduous task of learning a game that is alien to them and play for a victory.
Released in 2008, ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ is an epic historical romantic drama. It stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the titular roles. Set in the 16th century, the film shows the life and romance between the Muslim Emperor Akbar of Mughal Empire and a Hindu Princess Jodhaa Bai of Amber, who married him on a political marriage. A. R. Rahman composed the musical score which proved to be critically and commercially successful.