NEW DELHI: Johnny Depp and Amitabh Bachchan, two actors representing the best of Hollywood and Bollywood, sharing screen space... Mira Nair could not have hoped for more for Shantaram.
While the Hollywood star of films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Neverland will be playing the central role in the film, Amitabh will be the kind-hearted Mumbai gangster.
The New York-based Indian filmmaker, who was approached by Depp to direct Shantaram, couldnâ€™t have asked for a better deal. â€œIt was an honour for me that Depp asked me to make the film. It will go on the floors in November,â€ Nair said.
When asked about other members of the cast, Nair said it was just Depp and Amitabh right now.
The Monsoon Wedding director describes herself as a very intuitive person and one who selects her projects on the basis of her instincts. And Shantaram, which will be extensively shot in Australia, China and India, is a story with true global appeal, she said. Shantaram is a screen adaptation of Gregory David Robertsâ€™ book of the same name.
The film will show how Roberts (played by Depp), a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict, escapes from Pentridge Prison, Australia, and flees to India to make his base in Mumbai.
In Mumbai, Roberts has to deal with the Mumbai mafia. He later decides to help slum dwellers and starts a health centre that provides free medical facilities to the poor. It is here that Roberts befriends Kader Bhai (Amitabh) who eventually becomes his mentor and guide.
This is not Nairâ€™s first stint with a Hollywood actor. She had earlier teamed up with Hollywood biggies Denzel Washington in Mississippi Masala and Reese Witherspoon in Vanity Fair.