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).
Police were attempting to verify if he has left behind any suicide note at the studio or any other location.
Film personalities such as Riteish Deshmukh, Siddhartha Basu, and Neil Nitin Mukesh on Wednesday took to their social media handles to pay tributes to the art director, calling him a “genius” and a “positive soul”.
Basu, who worked with Desai on popular reality shows such as “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 wrote on Twitter.
Desai was known for his art work in films such as “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”, “Lagaan“, “Jodhaa Akbar” and “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”. In his career spanning over 30 years, Desai closely worked with directors like Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani, and Ashutosh Gowariker.
Neil 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,” he wrote on the microblogging site.
Actor 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 (sic),” Deshmukh tweeted.
The news of Desai’s demise is “devastating”, said filmmaker 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.
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.