Another Indian boy in Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’

May 21st, 2011 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, May 21 (IANS) He has taken a big leap, straight into Hollywood. Ayush Tandon, 12, stars as the child version of protagonist ‘Pi’ Patel in director Ang Lee’s new film even as another Indian boy plays his teenaged avatar.

The Mumbai boy has wrapped up his part for the 3D Hollywood movie, “Life of Pi”. He shot in places like Taiwan and Pondicherry ( now renamed Puducherry).

“People are very professional out there. They are always in time and they smoothly finish everything in the stipulated time. It was so wonderful to work with them,” Ayush, who starred in Bollywood’s “7 Khoon Maaf”, told IANS.

“It’s a fantastic feeling that I have done a Hollywood film. My part of the shoot is complete,” added the 12-year-old.

Lee, a Golden Globe and Oscar winning Taiwanese American film director, got international acclaim with movies like “Sense and Sensibility”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”.

“Lee was looking for the right child artist for the role. He had visited many schools and auditioned. My audition was approved by the US (team). I was called for a look test in Taiwan and they selected me there,” said Ayush, a student of Mumbai’s St. Augustine’s School.

He got special leave from his school to shoot for the movie, based on Yann Martel’s Booker-winning novel of the same name.

“My school gave me permission and leave to go and shoot for the film as it is such a big project. I did ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ during vacations,” said Ayush who would go to Class 8 this year.

Ayush is not permitted to speak about the film, but giving an inkling about his character, he said: “It’s an Indian character who lives in Pondicherry.

“(In the film) My father has a zoo in Canada and we are shifting there in a ship and the ship sinks, but Pi escapes in a lifeboat. I am not there in the ship part. It’s done by the older Pi. The story is all about his journey.”

Delhi-based 17-year-old Suraj Sharma will play the teenaged Pi in the film.

Even at this tender age, Ayush has an impressive body of work - Ayush is the winner of Zee TV’s dance reality show “Chota Packet Bada Dhamaka” and he has also done Sony’s “Comedy Ka Daily Soap”.

He played the young Arun in “7 Khoon Maaf”.

He has quite a few commercials to his credit - Maltova, BSNL Phone, Pogo Chips, Philips, Reliance mobile, Apsara colour pencil, Sunfeast pasta, Indian Oil, Maggi noodles, Metlife Insurance, Honda Scooty, Cadbury Gems, Aircell Phone, Big Bazaar, Boomer Chewing Gum, Glucovita, Horlicks Milk, Tetra Pack, Dabar Chawanprayash and Co-fresh snacks.

(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at dibyojyoti.b@ians.in)

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