Indian to star in pic on Hardy, Ramanujan friendship

Helmer Roger Spottiswoode (“Tomorrow Never Dies”) is putting together the last pieces of financing for a pic on Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan in India.

Based on a script by David Freeman from his eponymous play, “A First Class Man” will follow the unlikely friendship between the self-taught Indian math prodigy and mystic Ramanujan and British mathematician and atheist G.H. Hardy.

A child prodigy, Ramanujan corresponded with Hardy, who was struck by the Indian’s genius and invited him to work in Cambridge. Ramanujan died in England at age 32.

Spottiswoode cast Indian thesp Siddharth Suryanarayan (“Midnight’s Children”) as Ramanujan after seeing him in 2006’s “Rang de basanti.”

“He knows a lot about Ramanujan and he’s very smart and has a real perception about the character, so he seems like an ideal choice,” Spottiswoode said. “And he’s about the right age.” The helmer was speaking from the sidelines of the Reliance Entertainment-backed Mumbai film fest, where he’s serving as a juror.

Pic was set up as a co-production between U.K. shingle Picture Palace and India’s Cause Entertainment and was due to begin lensing in 2010. However, Cause pulled out, and the film was stalled. Picture Palace remains onboard and the project has added some European coin. Spottiswoode is aiming for a fall 2012 start for principal photography with exteriors shot in Cambridge, England, and interiors in India.

Ramanujan’s story has attracted attention twice before. In 2006, producer Ed Pressman acquired the rights to Robert Kanigel’s 1991 biography “The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan” and separately, the same year British multihyphenate Stephen Fry and Indian helmer Dev Benegal together announced a biopic. Both projects are yet to be produced.Spottiswoode said his film is not a biopic but “very much about a collaboration between two unusual people.”

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