The film was shot in 18 different locations in the town, importantly in Jardin Botanique, Puducherry’s 200-year-old botanical garden.
The nomination of Ang Lee-directed Life of Pi in 11 major categories at Oscars has created a buzz in Puducherry, where part of the film was shot. The moment locals read in newspapers and saw flashes in television channels, they went up in joy. It has become the talk of the town all of a sudden and a moment to celebrate for the citizens of the Union Territory, once the capital of French India.
The film was mainly shot in coastal Puducherry, which has a rich mix of ancient Hindu temples and French Colonial architecture. Ang Lee chose an entirely Indian cast for “Pi” and has depicted the Indian culture beautifully in the adventure film.
According to a source, the film was shot in 18 different locations in the town, importantly in Jardin Botanique, Puducherry’s 200-year-old botanical garden. It was the place where Pi, the story’s key protagonist, grew up. Since the spectacular garden did not have a zoo, Mr. Lee had to set up one.
For Suraj Sharma, the luckiest among 3,000 Indians who reportedly auditioned for the film’s lead role, Puducherry was his second home for sometime. With the involvement of a large contingent of technicians from Hollywood and others, Lee could capture the immaculate buildings, magnificent churches, the serene beach and spectacular monuments in Puducherry. Holy Rosary Church, Calve College of Higher Education, Petit Seminare, Ousteri boat house, Villinaur, Auroville and leading heritage hotels along the beach road were among the places that feature in the film.
“I am excited to hear about the nomination of Life of Pi for Oscar awards. No other Hollywood film glorified the beauty of Puducherry and Indian culture as this movie did. I will be among the thousands of citizens to sit in front of television sets to watch the Oscar ceremony. I hope that Lee’s tireless effort will take him as well as India to spotlight once again,” says W.V.R. Murthy, Secretary, Tourism, Government of Puducherry.
He said the film, which was screened in different parts of the world, had already made Puducherry popular among world audience, particularly tourists. A large number of tourists, after watching the movie, visited the city. If it gets the Oscar, it could boost the image of Puducherry as a leading holiday destination.
K. Ramadoss, teacher of Calve Higher Secondary School, said the director told the people associated with the movie that Puducherry, which did not have zoo, would be forced to have a zoo as the film would surely make international headlines.