Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai - who paraded here yesterday alongside her fellow Cannes jury members - is to star in Capitol Films' The Rising, a period epic set against the 1857 Indian mutiny that fuses western and Indian filmmaking styles.
The story of the friendship between an Indian soldier and British commander William Gordon will feature Bollywood megastars including Rai and Lagaan's Aamir Khan alongside UK actors, who are to be confirmed.
Produced by Bandit Queen's Bobby Bedi, the film will be roughly 50-50 English and Hindi language. Leading Indian composer A R Rahman is scoring, but singing will only feature when it occurs naturally such as a scene in a brothel with musicians.
"We are very much aiming for an Indian movie that will crossover, something that can reach both worlds" said Sharon Harel, joint head of UK-based Capitol.
Rai, who starred in last year's Cannes title Devdas, will start shooting The Rising hard on the heels of Gurinder Chadha's Pride And Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical, another ambitious Indian-Western fusion. Director Ketan Mehta, whose credits include the hit Mirch Masala, will start principle photography on The Rising from July for five months in India.
"Other films might shoot over that period of time but for 60 or 70 days within that," said Bedi. "This production should spend 120 days shooting."
Bedi has arranged a significant part of the financing through his company Kaleidoscope Entertainment and film laboratory Adlabs.