Chandran Rutnam

Chandran Rutnam

Filmmaker from Sri Lanka
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Chandran Rutnam
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Contributions to the Film Industry
  4. Personal Background
  5. Early Film Experience
  6. Pursuing a Career in Film
  7. Success in Hollywood
  8. Filmography

Biography of Chandran Rutnam

Chandran Rutnam is a renowned cinematographer from Sri Lanka who has worked in the film industry for over 38 years in Los Angeles. He comes from a mixed background, with ancestors from both Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese.

Chandran Rutnam

Early Life and Career

Rutnam began his career in the film industry at the age of 16, working on the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' directed by David Lean. He also studied at a film school with American director George Lucas. With Rutnam's involvement, many Hollywood films were brought to Sri Lanka for production.

Contributions to the Film Industry

As a production manager, Rutnam worked on the adventurous film 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' and many other films in Sri Lanka. He currently holds the position of President and CEO of 'Asian Film Location Services (Pvt) Ltd.', a company that facilitates the filming of foreign movies in Sri Lanka. He also founded the now-popular local airline 'Lionair' and is the owner of 'Asian Aviation Centre (Pvt) Ltd' in Sri Lanka.

Personal Background

Chandran Rutnam's father, Dr. James T. Rutnam, was a Sri Lankan Tamil, while his mother, Evelyn Wijeratne, was a Sinhalese. From his mother, Rutnam inherited a love for freedom and adventure.

Early Film Experience

At the age of sixteen, Rutnam's parents' home was chosen as a filming location for 'The Bridge on the River Kwai.' Rutnam volunteered to assist with various tasks and eventually became an assistant responsible for props and a runner. One significant moment for him was during the filming of one of the film's final scenes with a bridge explosion. Rutnam's role was to run through the jungle area with a handheld smoke device. This smoke was later synchronized with the approaching train, creating a dramatic effect for audiences.

Pursuing a Career in Film

After working on the film, Rutnam shocked his parents by leaving school and moving to London to pursue his dream of a career in cinema. He then relocated to the United States and enrolled in the film school at the University of Southern California, as well as the San Fernando Valley College of Law.

Success in Hollywood

While working in Hollywood studios, Rutnam achieved success by convincing director John Derek to film the adventure movie 'Tarzan the Apeman' in Sri Lanka instead of Africa. Over the course of his long career, Steven Spielberg has referred to Rutnam as his most valuable friend in the Far East.


Throughout his career, Chandran Rutnam has produced 13 films, including the action film 'The Road from Elephant Pass' (2008), the romantic drama 'The Sleeping Dictionary' (2003), and the action films 'Bloodsport 2' (1996) and 'Bloodsport 3' (1997). He has also directed and written three films: 'Poronduwa' (1993), 'Alimankada' (2008), and the American thriller 'A Common Man' (2012).