Chandran Rutnam

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Chandran Rutnam
Rutnam in 2006
Born (1948-07-22) 22 July 1948 (age 75)[1]
NationalitySri Lankan
CitizenshipSri Lankan
EducationS. Thomas' College, Gurutalawa
Occupation(s)Film Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Entrepreneur
Years active1975 – Present
Known forFilm-making, Aviation
TitlePresident and CEO of Asian Film Locations Services
Ex-Chairman of Lionair
Chairman of Asian Aviation Centre
AwardsSarasaviya Award - Best Camera

Presidential Awards - Best Picture New York International Television and Film Awards - Best Film

Madrid International Film Festival - Best Director
WebsiteAsian Film Locations Services
Asian Aviation Centre

Chandran Rutnam is a Sri Lankan filmmaker and entrepreneur.[2][3]

Rutnam has hosted numerous Hollywood films for their location shoots in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.[2][3] He was the Line Producer/Production Supervisor on several international productions including the Sri Lankan location shoot of Paramount Pictures' Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indochine (1992).[2][3] He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Film Location Services which mostly hosts foreign films to be shot in South and South East Asia.

Steven Spielberg once referred to Rutnam as "Our most valued friend in the Far East".[3][4][5][6] Rutnam has also worked with Sir David Lean, Sir Carol Reed, John Boorman, George Lucas and Regis Wargnier.[2]

Rutnam wrote the screenplay, produced, directed and edited the film The Road from Elephant Pass, which was a Finalist Award Winner at the New York International Television and Film Awards in 2011.[4][5] He also wrote the adapted screenplay and produced and directed, A Common Man which starred Sir Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross. The film was nominated for the four main awards at the Madrid International Film Festival in 2013, winning the Best Picture, Best Director and the Best Actor awards.[2][7]

Rutnam was the founder of Lionair, a defunct Sri Lankan airline, and owns the Asian Aviation Centre, an aeronautical engineering and flying academy.[citation needed]


Rutnam was born to a Tamil father Dr. James T. Rutnam and a Sinhalese mother Evelyn Wijeyaratne. He lived in Los Angeles, California for 38 years and now resides in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is a brother of Jayam Rutnam, the founder of the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California (SLAASC).[2]

Rutnam at the hangar of Asian Aviation Centre and Lionair

Life and career[edit]

Rutnam was a 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.[4][5] Due to this exposure, to the consternation of his parents, he dropped out of school and went to London to pursue his dream of a career in films. He later moved to the United States and attended the film school at the University of Southern California and the San Fernando Valley College of Law. While working in Hollywood studios, Rutnam's break in selling Sri Lankan locations to international filmmakers came when he managed to convince John Derek, director of Tarzan the Apeman, to shoot the film in Sri Lanka rather than in Africa.[4][5][6]

Rutnam also dreamt of making a mark in the aviation field. He stated, "I was the sort of guy who would go to an airport and watch the planes taking off. I remember as a kid, I went to the Colombo port and watched the ships coming and going out. I do not know whether it was wanderlust or freedom of movement. I do not know which one it was. Some years ago a friend of mine and I decided that we should have an airline."[8] He founded Asian Aviation Centre and Lionair. Lionair was established in October 1993 and started its operations on 24 October 1994. Lionair suspended its domestic services when Lionair Flight 602, an Antonov An-24 aircraft went missing shortly after it took off from Jaffna in 1998, but resumed services in October 2002.[9]


Theatrical releases[edit]

Year Film Director Producer Writer Editor Other Notes
1981 Tarzan, the Ape Man Yes Production Manager
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Yes Production Manager
Adara Kathawa Yes Yes
1986 Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy Yes Production Manager
The Kiss of the Cobra Yes
1987 Der Stein des Todes Yes
1988 Farewell to the King Yes Production Manager
The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck Yes Production Manager
A Dangerous Life Yes
1989 The Iron Triangle Yes Production Manager
Shadow of the Cobra Yes
1990 Witness to a Killing - Janelaya Yes Yes Yes
Ghosts Can't Do It Yes Associate Producer
1992 Spooks Yes Production Manager
Indochine Yes Production Supervisor
Fifty/Fifty Yes Production Manager
1993 La porte du ciel
Yes Production Supervisor
Le prix d'une femme
Yes Production Supervisor
Poronduwa - The Promise Yes Yes Yes
1994 Le Livre De Cristal Yes Production Supervisor
1995 Madara Parasathu Yes
Beyond Rangoon Yes Production Manager
L'enfant des Rues
Yes Production Supervisor
1996 Robo Warriors Yes Production Supervisor
Bloodsport 2 Yes
Victory Yes Production Supervisor
Caught Yes Production Supervisor
1997 Les mystères de Sadjurah Yes Production Supervisor
Paradise Road Yes Production Supervisor
Bloodsport III Yes
The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo Yes Associate Producer
Mother Teresa: In the Name of God's Poor Yes
1998 D'or et de Safran
Yes Production Supervisor
The Son of Sandokan Yes Production Manager
Yes Production Supervisor
1999 Pilgrimage - Theertha Yathra Yes
2000 Straße ins Paradies
Yes Production Supervisor
Der Kaptan
Yes Production Supervisor
2001 Un dono Semplice
Yes Production Supervisor
2002 Mansion by the Lake - Wekanda Walauwa Yes
Love 2002 Yes
The Hostages Yes Production Supervisor
2003 Mother Teresa of Calcutta Yes Production Manager
The Sleeping Dictionary Yes
2006 Spie Lies & Alibis Yes Production Supervisor
Water Yes Production Manager
Fisherman's Daughter – Dheewari Yes
2009 Victory Yes Production Supervisor
The Road from Elephant Pass Yes Yes Yes Yes
2010 Agyaat Yes
2011 Ready Yes Line Producer
2012 Mille Soya Yes Co-Producer
Train to Kandy Yes Executive Producer
Jism 2 Yes Production Supervisor
2013 A Common Man Yes Yes Yes
2014 According to Mathew Yes Yes
2015 Prince of Malacca Yes Executive Producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1990 Sarasaviya Award Best Camera Witness to a Killing – Janelaya Won
1999 Presidential Awards Best Picture Pilgrimage - Theertha Yathra Won
2011 New York International Television and Film Awards Best Film The Road from Elephant Pass Won
(Finalist Award)
2013 Madrid International Film Festival Best Director A Common Man Won


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chandran Rutnam". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 5, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "RUTNAM: like in the movies". Daily News. September 25, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "Breaking the artificial barriers". Sunday Observer. February 11, 2007. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Dream locales in Lanka". Nirupama Subramaniam. Archived from the original on December 26, 2005. Retrieved February 4, 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ a b c d "Moving movie man dreams on". Bandula Jayasekara. Retrieved February 4, 2008.
  6. ^ a b "Hollywood gets Tsunami plea". BBC. January 19, 2005. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  7. ^ "Lankans' film wins three awards". The Island. July 8, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "Demand for local pilots increasing". The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. August 31, 2009. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  9. ^ Flight International 5–11 April 2005

External links[edit]