The Breathtaking Set Pieces of Iconic Films Designed By Nitin Chandrakant Desai

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Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

Nitin Desai won several awards for his art direction and production design in this romantic musical directed by Sanjay Leela Bhasali. The film features opulent and colourful sets, and the visuals of the Makar Sankranti celebration and the ‘Dholi Taro’ sequence are especially impressive.

Lagaan (2001)

Nitin Desai was one of the first people to join the production team in this Oscar-nominated film directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar. The film was shot in Bhuj, Gujarat, as the story was set in a dry hamlet. Lagaan’s rustic and authentic sets won Desai the National Film Award for Best Art Direction.

Devdas (2002)

Nitin Desai spent nearly a year building the sets of this Sanjay Leela Bhansali period drama. He researched Calcuttan building design during the British Raj, and used distinct colours to represent Devdas’ house and Paro’s haveli. The total budget for the sets has been estimated at Rs. 200 million, with Chandramukhi’s brothel being the most expensive set.

Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

This gorgeous historical drama marks Nitin Desai’s third collaboration with director Ashutosh Gowarikar. The art director took pictures of Amer Fort and Agra Fort, using them as reference to construct the sets, including Akbar’s courtroom, Jodhaa’s chambers and the fort gardens.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015)

This Sooraj Barjatya film features grand sets and was filmed at extravagant locations across the country, from Rajkot to Udaipur. As production designer, Nitin Desai strove to “give life to each element” of the set. The sprawling royal palace in the film is one of the biggest sets ever made.

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