Heritage Franco-Indian buildings in eye-catching hues, clean cobbled streets lined with flowering trees and a wide seaside boulevard – Pondicherry’s sights have become familiar to enthusiasts of Tamil cinema in the last decade or so. A few Bollywood films have been shot here as well, and many international travellers will recognise the city as the setting for Life of Pi, the first Hollywood film to be shot here. It’s not only feature films but also ad films and stills that have utilised the diverse vistas offered by the city and surrounding areas.

Cinema buffs will be interested to know that there are no studios in Pondicherry; all shoots are on-location. And it’s no surprise – the picturesque streets and quaint architecture of the French part of town, combined with the bustle and colour of the Tamil part of town, give the city great versatility as a shooting location.

Additional crew, supporting cast, and props like old cars are easily available. Lower costs, ease of obtaining shooting permissions and smaller crowds are other reasons filmmakers in southern India and elsewhere choose Pondicherry for shoots.