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Shruti Haasan to Headline BFI-Backed Indo-U.K. Co-Production ‘Chennai Story’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Indian star Shruti Haasan will headline India-U.K. film co-production “Chennai Story.”

Haasan, who is also a renowned musician, has acting credits across India’s various language film industries and in the U.S. and U.K. In 2023, she was one of the leads in “Salaar,” one of India’s biggest hits of the year, and led British thriller “The Eye.” In 2019, she had a key role in USA series “Treadstone.”

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Adapted from Timeri N. Murari’s bestselling 2004 novel “The Arrangements of Love,” “Chennai Story” is a coming-of-age romantic comedy set against the backdrop of Wales and India where Haasan takes on the pivotal role of Anu, a spunky private detective. The role was previously supposed to be played by Samantha Ruth Prabhu who is now taking a year’s sabbatical due to health reasons. The cast also includes Viveik Kalra, who was the lead in “Blinded by the Light” and is currently in Netflix heist thriller “Lift.”

The film is written and directed by BAFTA winner Philip John (“Downton Abbey”) and co-written by British Sri Lankan actor Nimmi Harasgama, who played the female lead in “Funny Boy.” “Chennai Story” is an English-language film interspersed with Tamil and Welsh. Cinematography will be by Graham Frake (“Downton Abbey”), while Ciaran Thompson (“Willow”) is the production designer.

India’s Guru Films (“Oh! Baby”), the U.K.’s Ripple World Pictures (“The Last Rifleman”) and Wales’ Ie Ie Productions (“Queerama”) are co-producing the film that aims to be made under the bilateral U.K.-India co-production treaty. The film is backed by the British Film Institute’s (BFI) U.K. Global Screen Fund. Metro International is handling global sales.

“Shruti’s ability to effortlessly traverse between her Tamil origins 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.

Haasan added: “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’.”

John said: “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.”

Dominic Wright, producer and founder of Ripple World Pictures, added: “We are thrilled that the multi-talented Shruti Haasan has joined the cast of this prestigious BFI-backed U.K.-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.”

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