Viacom 18 Motion Pictures is teaming with Movie Temple Productions to co-produce a project to be written and directed by Abhinav Kashyap, who directed the biggest Hindi hit of 2010, Dabangg.

Tentatively titled Project 18, the film is being scripted by Kashyap and is expected to start shooting in the last quarter of 2011.

Movie Temple Productions is a new company co-founded by textiles businessman Sanjeev Gupta and Himanshu Mehra, who was chief assistant director to Kashyap on Dabangg. Mehra was also line producer on films such as Shyam Benegal’s Welcome To Sajjanpur and production executive on UK-produced TV series Mumbai Calling.

Before directing Dabangg, Kashyap wrote dialogues for films including Manorama Six Feet Under and 13B. He is the brother of Anurag Kashyap who is currently shooting two-part gangster musical Gangs Of Wasseypur for Viacom 18.

Dabangg, a tongue-in-cheek throwback to Bollywood’s traditional masala movies starring Salman Khan as a corrupt police officer, was the biggest Hindi release in India last year grossing more than $40m.

Kashyap was expected to shoot a sequel to Dabangg, which was produced by Arbaaz Khan Productions and Shree Ashtavinayak, but it’s understood that he pulled out of the sequel to direct the Viacom 18 project.

Viacom 18’s first release of 2011, Tanu Weds Manu, is currently enjoying a successful run in India and overseas markets, despite the on-going Cricket World Cup.