‘Slumdog’ art director wants to recreate seven wonders

January 25th, 2009 - 9:04 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) National Award winning art director Nitin Desai, who recreated the Taj Mahal for Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire”, says he would some day love to erect the seven wonders of the world.”My dream is to create all the seven wonders under one roof. I have undertaken many projects and have done a lot in art direction but I am yet to do something like this,” Desai told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

In his career spanning more than 20 years, Desai has done the production designing for 104 projects, 29 of them being international ones. This includes French film “Amok” (1993), Walt Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (1994) and Mira Nair’s “Kamasutra” (1996).

Desai, who recreated the Taj Mahal’s interiors for Boyle’s Oscar-nominated film, says one has to be responsible and extremely careful while undertaking such a venture.

“Along with creating the sets of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati” in the film, I also recreated the set of the interiors of the Taj Mahal.

“I went to the tomb and took measurements and noticed even the minutest of details because when you recreate such a historical monument there is always a responsibility that it should look real and believable,” Desai added.

In Bollywood, the art director is best known for his work in period films like “Lagaan”, “Mangal Pandey: The Rising”, “1942 A Love Story” and “Jodhaa Akbar”.

While he has worked for films based on contemporary issues too, he maintains that period dramas will remain his first love.

“You need to indulge in a lot of research in period films to know everything about that era and only then can you start with the work… which can be really challenging. But still it is always fun doing such films and I consider them my forte,” he said.

His next project is equally large in scale. Desai is in the process of recreating London’s Wembley Arena for Vipul Shah’s mega-budget film “London Dreams” and he certainly is upbeat about it.

“We are recreating London’s Wembley Arena for ‘London Dreams’. It is a concert sequence and will house 90,000 people. We have just started work on it and the shoot is scheduled to start next month. This is the first time a set like this is being erected,” he said.

Desai stresses that like the director and the actors, the art director too is “responsible for every frame” of a film.

Though Desai has done work for commercials and events also, he admits that he prefers films because of the “instant recognition attached to it and their scale”.

The veteran has quite a few Bollywood films lined up that include Ashutosh Gowarikar’s “What’s Your Rashee”, Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Jail”, Vipul Shah’s “Action Replay” and Amol Gupte’s “Sapno Ko Ginte Ginte”.

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