Responsible for the jazzy opulence of the O.P. Ralhan hit Talash (1969) and Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977), Shanti Das was one of the most celebrated art directors of his time. Born in Dhaka, Shanti Das received his education in Calcutta, where he received a diploma in art from the Government Art College.
Shanti Das began his career as an assistant to Biren Nag in Calcutta. His entrance into films was pure chance, initiated when an assistant of Nag offered him an opportunity while he was making a sketch of the Victoria Memorial in 1950. Subsequently, he accompanied Nag to Madras and later to Bombay in 1952. His first project as an independent art director was in the Vyjayanthimala starrer Ek Jhalak (1957). With his well-recognised work in Junglee (1961), Das shot quickly to fame and became one of the most sought after art directors in the Hindi film industry.
Since then his work has found expression in major films like Professor (1962), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), April Fool(1964) and Teesri Manzil (1966). His colourful aesthetic blended well with Shammi Kapoor’s high-energy swashbuckling entertainers. He won his first Filmfare Award for Best Art Director for Phool Aur Patthar(1966). Further acclaim followed for films like An Evening in Paris (1967), Prince (1969) and Pyar Hi Pyar (1969). He won two more Filmfare Awards for his stellar work in Talash (1969) and Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (1977).
Shanti Das played a major role in establishing the glitzy aesthetic that we have all come to love and recognise about the films from the 60s and 70s. He passed away on 14 August, 2011, leaving behind an impressive body of work.