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“Toomai of the Elephants” in to a 3D Film by Chandran Rutnam

The only Sri Lankan film director to have Hollywood exposure, Chandran Rutnam is to shoot a 3D film “Toomai of the Elephants “in Sri Lanka in early 2012. It is the latest version of the film “Elephant Boy”which was screened on 1937 and Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda shared best director honors at the Venice Film Festival. The both films were based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book story “Toomai of the Elephants.

“Little Toomai’s father is angry with him, but Petersen Sahib, who is in charge of all the elephant catching, hears of it, and tells him that one day he may become a hunter too. But when he asks if he can go again into the Keddah, Petersen Sahib tells him he can go into all the Keddahs—’when thou hast seen the elephants dance’. By that he means ‘never’, because although flattened ‘dance-floors’ had sometimes been found deep in the hills, no man had ever seen the elephants dance there. Will the little boy able to see the elephants dance? That you have to wait and see.

Two Hollywood big shots, Pierce Brosnan and Omar Sharif will do the main charactors as the ‘great white hunter’ Peterson Sahib and as the “Machu Appa” respectively. The movie will be written and directed by Mr. Rutnam himself, and in fact he says the script has been ready for years. “It’s about the two older guys and their relationship with the young boy. They learn together, the mysteries, the enchantment and the rituals of the jungles.” Said Mr. Rutnam.

Chandran Rutnam was a 16-year-old school boy when David Lean arrived in Sri Lanka to shoot his Second World War epic, “The Bridge on The River Kwai”. The film crew hired a house that belonged to his parents for the shooting, and Rutnam hung out at the sets volunteering odd jobs until finally, he got hired as a standby props assistant and gofer. The experience of watching and working with Lean and his crew, Rutnam says, changed his life forever. To the consternation of his parents, he chucked school and went to London to pursue his dream of a career in films. He later moved to the United States, where he went a film school in Los Angeles, while doing jobs in Hollywood studios. Rutnam’s break in selling Asian locations to international film-makers which eventually turned in as his main job apart from making films. He owns the Asian Film Location Service (Pvt) ltd which provides full support services for the production and/or supervision of International motion pictures throughout Asia and is acknowledged as the Premier Location and Equipment Service Company in the Region.

Mr.Rutnum was recognized as the first Sri Lankan to direct a Hollywood film with the movie “A Common Man” based on a story, terror attacks on Colombo. Oscar Award winner Ben Kingsley has reportedly signed to act in the movie. Taking about the film, Chandran Rutnam has said, “The story is adapted from a concept that has been done before. But I have taken that concept and turned it around into a situation in Sri Lanka. This is a rare opportunity for Sri Lanka because this is the first time we are directing Hollywood actors. We shot the whole movie within 27 days,”

Sandun W

Sandun joined Lanka Help Magazine as a contributor in June, 2011. He has been consistently writing articles to our magazine. Many useful articles of this site are under Sandun's name.

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