The Art Directors Guild (ADG) Film Society and American Cinematheque will honor Production Designer Nitin Chandrakant Desai with a screening of the film “Devdas” (2002) on Sunday, August 29, at 5:30 pm at the Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood). Devdas is the fourth of this year’s screening series highlighting the work of renowned Production Designers and their creative colleagues. A panel discussion moderated by Production Designer John Muto will follow.
“Devdas,” based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novella 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 films ever. Filmed many times, “Devdas,” an Indian-style retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,” is considered a national treasure. The film features superstars Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit and is renowned for its elaborate palace sets, covering acres of backlot surrounding a reflecting lake. The film is also famous for its intricate dance sequences and choreography. “Devdas” 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.
Nitin Chandrakant Desai, a renowned art director and production designer of Indian Cinema, is best known for his work on films such as, “Josh” (2000); “Jodhaa Akbar” (2008); and “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India” (2001). With over 22 years in the film industry, Desai has worked on more than 85 films. In 1999, he won a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design for “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. Desai immediately conceptualized a production studio in India, which would competitively stand alone within the global landscape. Nitin Desai Studios was born, where Desai was personally involved with all aspects of designing the studio.
Most recently, Desai has been praised for his work on “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008). He was the first designer to create a hydraulic set and Danny Boyle was inspired to use a similar set in addition to a set built by Desai to reflect the interiors of the Taj Mahal.
Representing the ADG are president, Thomas A. Walsh and Production Designer, John Muto. Working with them are the American Cinematheque’s Gwen Deglise and Grant Moninger. General admission: $11. American Cinematheque members: $7. Students/Seniors with valid ID: $9. All screenings start at 5:30 p.m. 24-hour information is available at 323-466-FILM (3456).