India is the flavour for Hollywood — in terms of themes as well as location
Shantaram: If all goes well, Mira Nair’s next film will team Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp with Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan on screen for the first time. Shantaram is based on Gregory David Roberts’s acclaimed autobiography by the same name, and narrates the escapades of the Australian convict who escaped a 19-year long prison term back home to settle in Mumbai. While Depp plays the protagonist, Nair reportedly wants Bachchan for the central role of Kader Bhai, an influential Mumbai don who helps Depp’s character find his feet in the city’s underworld.
Slumdog Millionaire: Based on Vikas Swarup’s bestseller Q & A, the film will be directed by noted British independent filmmaker Danny Boyle, who describes it as “a great love story that will be partly in Hindi, mostly in English”. Boyle is best known as the director of the pathbreaking cult hit, Trainspotting, and has directed Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach. During a recent visit to Mumbai, Boyle also met Shah Rukh Khan. But he says it’s too early to know if he will manage to rope in the superstar for his film.
A Mighty Heart: More people in India probably know about A Mighty Heart than this year’s Best Film Oscar winner, thanks to the hype Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt created on their visit to Pune last year, to shoot for the film. Directed by BAFTA winner Michael Winterbottom, the movie reprises the true account of slain Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl, as narrated by Pearl’s widow Mariane. Indian actors in the cast include Irrfan Khan and Aly Khan.
Passion India: Javier Moro’s novel will soon be adapted for the screen as Indian Passion. Sultry Spanish actress Penelope Cruz is scheduled to play the central role along with a line-up of Bollywood actors. The book is inspired by the true story of Anita Delgado, a 17-year-old Spanish flamenco dancer who scandalised society in the early 1900s when she decided to marry the maharaja of Kapurthala. The marriage ended in scandal with Delgado being banished from India. The film will be shot in India mostly, and partly in Spain.