The widely anticipated shooting of the movie ‘Life of Pi', being made by the Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, began here on Tuesday at the Holy Rosary church at Muthialpet.

An adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel by Canadian author Yann Martel, the story revolves around the fictional character Pi Patel, son of a zoo keeper from Puducherry, and his exploration of spirituality.

Sources told The Hindu that one-third of the movie, especially the childhood days of Pi, as portrayed in the book, will be shot in the coastal town. A number of children from Puducherry have been cast in the movie with the protagonist's role being played by Suraj, a boy from Delhi.

Important landmarks including the Botanical Gardens and a few heritage buildings in the town have been short listed by the film crew as possible locations for the shoot. Sources in the School Education Department said that the crew has sought permission to shoot at the Calve College Government Higher Secondary School and the VOC Government Higher Secondary School on Mission Street.

The choice of the schools was largely based on their antiquity and the distinct French architectural style in which they were built. It would also help the crew recreate the image of the Puducherry of the 1970s in which the story has been set, sources said. The book, which won the Booker Prize in 2002, received critical acclaim from across the world and has now been translated into several languages. A significant part of the book talks about the 227 days that Pi survives on a life boat on the Pacific Ocean following a shipwreck. He has for company a Royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker, an orangutan, a hyena and a zebra.