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American honour for Nitin Desai

Friday, August 27, 2010
By Seema Hakhu Kachru

HOUSTON: NOTED Indian art director and production designer, Nitin Chandrakant Desai is set to be honoured by two prominent American film bodies with a screening of Shah Rukh Khan starrer Devdas.

Desai will be felicitated by the Art Directors Guild (ADG) Film Society and American Cinematheque at a ceremony on August 29 at the Egyptian Theatre.

Sponsored by Variety, Devdas also starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit is the fourth of this year's screening series highlighting the work of renowned production designers. A panel discussion moderated by production designer John Muto will follow. Devdas, based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel of the same name, was the most expensive Bollywood film ever produced at the time of its release, and remains one of the most opulent Indian movies ever.

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas is renowned for its elaborate palace sets, intricate dance sequences and costumes. The film won ten Filmfare Awards, including Best Film, and received a BAFTA nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also India's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

Most recently, Desai has been praised for his work in multiple Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008). He designed two sets for director Danny Boyle, which included the set of Kaun Banega Crorepati scene, in addition to a set reflecting the interiors of the Taj Mahal.

With over 22 years in the film industry, Desai has worked on more than 85 films, like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001). In 1999, he won a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design for the Canadian film Such a Long Journey (1998).

Oscar winning director Oliver Stone teamed up with Desai to source locations for his film Alexander (2004). Stone's plans for his epic film called for state-of the-art soundstage facilities that did not then exist in India then. Desai conceptualized a production studio in India, which would competitively stand alone within the global landscape, as a result of which Nitin Desai Studios was born.


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