Renowned actor and musician Shruti Haasan is set to headline CHENNAI STORY a ground-breaking Indo-UK co-production backed by the British Film Institute's (BFI) UK Global Screen Fund. Chennai Story is the first Indian film project to be included in the funding awards instituted by the British Film Institute, thus establishing a new benchmark for global collaborations with India. The movie, which is co-produced by Guru Films (India), Ripple World Pictures (UK) and ie ie Productions (Wales) aims to be made under the bilateral UK-India Co-production Treaty.
In 2023, Chennai Story, was the sole Indian project to be included by the BFI for funding through its UK Global Screen Fund was launched in April 2021 to boost global opportunities for the UK’s independent screen sector. This is the first time the fund has supported a collaboration with India.
Written and directed by BAFTA winner Philip John, co-written by Nimmi Harasgama, Chennai Story is an English film interspersed with Tamil and Welsh, exploring themes of love, self-expression, and acceptance. This international film will have BAFTA-winning Graham Frake as the cinematographer, while Ciaran Thompson is the production designer.
Known for her versatility and impactful performances, Shruti's addition to the cast brings a contemporary edge to this cross-cultural rom-com where she joins forces with rising British star Viveik Kalra, who was the lead in Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light and currently seen in Lift, an American heist thriller directed by F. Gary Gray (The Fate of the Furious, Men In Black: International) alongside Kevin Hart, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jean Reno, Sam Worthington amongst others.
"Shruti's ability to effortlessly traverse between her Tamil origin to global appeal, positions her as a versatile actress and a global musician. She represents every aspect of Chennai Story —a true reflection of the current young Indian generation," said Sunitha Tati Founder and CEO of Guru Films.
“Hailing from Chennai, a story showing the diversity and uniqueness of Chennai is so special to me — collaborating with Phil is something I’m so excited to experience, telling global and rooted stories through international collaboration is what making cinema is all about. I'm all up for Sunitha Tati's vision of taking a culturally rooted story to an international audience through Chennai Story” said Shruti Haasan.
"I'm thrilled to be teaming up with the incredibly talented Shruti, on an emotional roller coaster of a story set in Chennai and Cardiff – two vibrant and multicultural cities. With the support of BFI, this film brings a whole new collaboration to international film production, while also bringing a fresh, under-explored Wales and India to the big screen," said Philip John.
“We are thrilled that the multi-talented Shruti Haasan has joined the cast of this prestigious BFI backed UK/India co-production film. Shruti brings an exciting, authentic, contemporary edge to the role, and playing opposite rising British star Viveik Kalra will be electric in this genuinely original cross-cultural rom-com that we believe audiences worldwide will delight in” said Dominic Wright, Producer and Founder of Ripple World Pictures.
The movie, adapted from Timeri N. Murari's bestseller "The Arrangements of Love," unfolds a coming-of-age romantic comedy set against the backdrop of Wales and India where Shruti Haasan takes on the pivotal role of Anu, a spunky private detective. Adding scale to the film’s market presence is Metro International, a renowned sales agent who specialises in quality, commercial films for world audiences.
The film also holds the acclaim of being the sole Indian title to be selected by the International Film Financing Forum by Ontario Creates at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival 2021. The script was thereafter presented in the respected Co-production Market at NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2021.
Chennai Story, under pre-production currently, will start its principal photography soon in locations in Chennai and subsequently in Cardiff. The film promises to be an emotionally resonant and visually stunning cinematic experience, exploring universal themes with an authentic touch that is poised to transcend borders, resonating with audiences globally.