Nitin Chandrakant Desai, is a noted art director and production designer of Indian cinema turned film and television producer, most known for his work in films like, 'Lagaan' (2001), 'Jodhaa Akbar' (2008), Devdas (2002) and 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' (1999). During his career spanning twenty years, he has worked with directors like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. In 2002, he turned film producer with Chandrakant Productions’ 'Desh Devi', a devotional film on the Devi Mata of Kutch.
In 2005, he opened his 'ND Studio' which is spread over 52 acres (210,000 m2) at Karjat, Navi Mumbai, near Mumbai. His studio has hosted movies like 'Jodha Akbar', 'Traffic Signal' as also Sony's reality show 'Bigg Boss'. He studied photography at the J.J. School of Art and L.S.Raheja school of arts, in Mumbai, before joining the films.
He first went to Mumbai's Film City Studios in May 1987 and immediately switched from the 2-D format of still photography to a 3-D world of art direction. He joined noted art director, Nitish Roy as a fourth assistant for the period TV serial, 'Tamas' (1987), directed by Govind Nihalani. Thereafter he worked TV series, 'Kabir' for five-and-a-half years, series 'Chanakya' for the first 25 episodes, and took over independently from the 26th episode onwards.
His first feature film was Adhikari Brothers' 'Bhookamp' in 1993 but it was Vidhu Vinod Chopra's period film, '1942: A Love Story' in 1994 that got him noticed. Over the years he has worked in film like 'Parinda', 'Khamoshi', 'Maachis', 'Baadshah', 'Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar' and 'Raju Chacha', international projects like S'alaam Bombay!', 'Amok' (a French film directed by Joel Farges, which won Desai a Pri Genie nomination), 'Jungle Book', 'Kama Sutra', the Canadian film 'Such a Long Journey' and 'Holy Smoke'.
He also created two sets for 'Slumdog Millionaire' 2008 film, which include the set of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' scene, incidentally he had also designed the set for the Star Plus TV series, and an interiors set of the Taj Mahal.
He turned film producer in 2003, with devotional film, 'Desh Devi Maa Ashapura'. Situated on the outskirts of Mumbai at Karjat, the ND studios was opened in 2005, spread over 52 acres (210,000 m2), later Reliance Entertainment picked up 50 per cent stake in the studio for about Rs 150 crore. He turned to producing TV series, with Marathi serial 'Raja Shivchhatrapati', which became a big hit.