India-set Tess update stars Frieda Pinto and Riz Ahmed.

Artificial Eye has acquired all UK and Irish rights to Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna from Bankside Films.

Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed star in Winterbottom’s contemporary romantic drama, inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, which is entirely set in India (Rajasthan and Mumbai).

Pinto plays a poor provincial driver’s daughter whose life is changed when she meets the UK-born son of a wealthy property developer.

The film had its world premiere in Toronto and will play (in a slightly trimmed version updated after Toronto) at the BFI London Film Festival starting Oct 22.

Winterbottom also produced with Melissa Parmenter for Revolution Films.

Bankside was also on board as a financier of the film, as was the UK Film Council, VTR Media Investments, Bob Film Sweden, Film I Vast and The Swedish Film Institute.

The deal was negotiated by Lousia Dent, MD of Artificial Eye and Stephen Kelliher, Head of Sales & Marketing at Bankside Films.

Dent said: “We are really pleased to be releasing Trishna in the UK, and are delighted to be working with Michael Winterbottom.” 

Stephen Kelliher, Head of Sales & Marketing at Bankside Films, added: “Bankside Films are delighted to be in business with Artificial Eye for the UK release of Michael’s Winterbottom’s film which has already been so well received following the world premiere in Toronto. We look forward to an exciting launch at the London Film Festival next week and to Artificial Eye’s theatrical release in 2012.” [The film will be released in spring 2012.]

Screen critic Allan Hunter wrote: “Trishna is infused with the spirit of India. Winterbottom is able to convey the tensions in a complex nation that respects traditional values and yet rushes to embrace all the liberties and luxuries of a booming modern economy.”

Winterbottom spoke to Screen about the film before its Toronto world premiere.